The National Transportation Safety Board says that the recording of the conversation between the pilot and co-pilot aboard a Peach Airlines jet during the moments before it descended to a dangerously low altitude while on approach to Naha airport has been erased and overwritten.
The airbus A320-200, carrying 59 passengers and crew, mistakenly descended to 75 meters above the water on its approach to Naha airport in Okinawa on April 28. According to aviation officials, aircraft usually begin their descent into Naha from a point about five kilometers away. However, the Peach plane began its descent 10 kilometers away and was only 75 meters above the water and still 7 kilometers from the airport before the pilot could regain control.
Aviation officials said planes have a ground proximity warning system that sounds an alarm if an aircraft is too close to the ground, water or a mountain. During the Peach plane’s descent, it sounded twice as the captain regained control.
Nobody on the plane was injured. A Peach spokesperson said afterwards that the pilot, who is from Argentina, had misunderstood air traffic control instructions. Peach said the pilot has been suspended, pending an investigation.
After the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation into the matter. According to the safety board, the conversations between the pilot and co-pilot as they tried to connect with Naha airport officials and Kansai International Airport tower personnel had been altered and entirely erased by Peach Airline officials, TBS reported.
However, safety board officials discovered that the conversations had been recorded at the radio tower at Naha airport and still remained intact. The board is analyzing the sound files and investigating the state of affairs aboard the Peach Airlines flight leading up to the accident.© Japan Today