Tuninter ATR 72-202 plane crash
Off Palermo, Italy
The aircraft was on a scheduled passenger flight from Bari, Italy to Djerba, Tunisia. While flying off the coast of Palermo, the crew reported that the twin turboprop had developed engine problems, and requested an emergency approach and landing at Palermo. But the aircraft did not reach Palermo, and crashed into the sea.
Investigators have revealed that, immediately before the fatal flight, the aircraft had performed a Tunis-Bari service and landed at Bari in Italy with just 305kg of fuel in total – a level which should have triggered a low-fuel alert to the crew. But the gauge incorrectly indicated that the ATR72’s tanks contained 2,300kg. The aircraft subsequently took on just 265kg of fuel at Bari, departing for Djerba with only 570kg in total, but which showed as 2,700kg to the crew.
During the flight, no low fuel warning has triggered. This was because the ATR72’s fuel warning system depended on the information from the fuel-quantity indicator, an indicator which was reading incorrectly because it was designed to be fitted only in a smaller plane: the ATR42.
The turboprop suffered fuel exhaustion and the ATR72 ditched off the Sicilian coast. Among the 39 passengers and crew members onboard, 14 were killed.