A group of passengers travelling on an ill-fated plane may not have been aware it had entered a fatal nose-dive.
A total of 114 passengers were killed when the Kenya Airways flight crashed into a swamp in Cameroon in May 2007, with four Britons among the victims.
The inquest into the deaths of Anthony Mitchell, 39; Adam Stewart, 43; his wife Sarah Stewart, 50; and 45-year-old Stuart Claisse heard that there was a ‘strong possibility’ their relatives may not have been aware when the plane went into a ‘spiral dive’.
The Boeing 737-800, which was only six months old, crashed in the mangrove swamp at midnight on May 5, just three miles from the end of the Douala runway from which it had taken off.
Lincoln Coroner’s Court heard today from Marcus Cook, an inspector at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and himself a pilot.
He told the inquest: ‘You’re sitting at the back. It’s dark. You can’t see anything. You’ve no cockpit instruments.’
But he added: ‘They may have felt the roll.’
Mr Cook told the inquest the plane crashed shortly after take-off when it banked, or rolled, too far to the right. He said that just after the plane was airborne it appears the captain was not controlling it.
‘About 15 seconds later, for no real reason, it appears that all input into the flight control by the captain ceases, and it ceases for about 55 seconds,’ he said.
‘At this point the airplane is about 1,000ft above the ground.’
Mr Cook said there was no record of the autopilot being engaged at this point and there was a chance that it had been selected but not successfully engaged.