Sunday 23 July 2017

Pilot had urge to crash planes

BONNIE MALKIN

A mentally ill Qantas pilot who experienced strong urges to crash planes was allowed to remain in charge of passenger aircraft for nearly three years, according to evidence given to a workers' compensation commission.

Bryan Griffin resigned from the airline in 1982, suffering from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression.

As part of Mr Griffin's claim against Qantas, the New South Wales Workers' Compensation Commission heard that between 1979 and 1982 the pilot had fought an overwhelming urge to switch off his plane's engines. He told the commission that his condition was made worse by continuing to work for the airline.

Involuntarily

The commission heard that, while running through an emergency procedure on a flight to Singapore, Mr Griffin's hand "involuntarily moved towards the start levers". In another "torturous" incident, he said he had to place his hand under his seat belt to restrain it.

After informing his colleagues of the urges, Mr Griffin was examined by doctors but was declared fit to fly.

His conduct worsened and he was examined again, but allowed to return to work.

A report from Mr Griffin's psychiatrist said Qantas had failed to fully understand his problem or the danger he posed to passengers.

Qantas declined to comment.

The commission upheld Mr Griffin's claim that his condition had been exacerbated by continuing to work for Qantas. The airline was ordered to pay him about $160,000 (€108,000) plus costs. The airline is considering an appeal. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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