Tuninter Flight 1153Saturday August 6, 2005
The aircraft developed engine trouble while en route from Bari Italy to Djerba, Tunisia The crew contacted Palermo ATC for an emergency landing but ditched into the sea approximately 19 miles north of Palermo. The pilot reported that both engines had failed. Fuel starvation. The maintenance crew incorrectly installed a fuel gauge for a ATR-42 on the ATR-72. Both instruments look very similar. A contributing factor was the failure of the crew to carry out proper emergency procedures once the plane ran out of fuel. In March 2009, an Italian court sentenced the pilot, to 10 years of jail for manslaughter. Prosecutors said that after the plane's engines stopped functioning, Garbi failed to follow emergency procedures, and that he could possibly have reached runway 25 of Palermo "Punta Raisi" Airport, or even the standard runway 20. Witnesses say he succumbed to panic and began praying out loud, rather than attempting to maneuver the plane to the nearest airport.