Got the following article via another source.
Translation of an artice that appeared in the newspaper Zambeze published in Maputo, 28 August 2008 page 2.
THE ACCIDENT AT MBUZINI
Sérgio Vieira Ordered Mozambique Airline Pilots to Remain Silent
by Luís Brito Dias
I read with great interest the statements of Mr Sérgio Vieira with respect to the accident at Mbuzini (O Pais, 15 August 2008), a subject of extraordinary interest to me as I was employed as a pilot for DETA/LAM (Mozambique Airlines) for 17 years. At the moment I am employed as a pilot in the Far East as a Captain flying Boeing 747-400 type aircraft. It is obvious that Mr Sérgio Vieira is lying shamelessly for, at the time of the accident, he was the Minister of Security and therefore responsible for what happened. Samora died an obscure death for which he was also responsible as he placed his life in the hands of pilots that turned out to be negligent and careless.
All the pilots that flew for Mozambique Airlines at the time know perfectly well that the accident at Mbuzini was due to negligence and carelessness on the part of the flying crew. Besides, after the accident, Mr Sergio Vieira sent a message to all the Mozambique Airlines (LAM) pilots, as a very clear threat, to “remain silent and not to open their mouth.” That was why no LAM Captain was appointed to participate in the Commission of Enquiry. The sole pilot was a LAM co-pilot, who had been in the Air Force and was a member of Frelimo and therefore “easily controllable”. This co-pilot began to see the disgusting nature of the Commission of Enquiry and arranged to be removed quickly as his conscience would not allow him to participate in the corruption of the truth.
The Soviet pilots, besides having little experience, flew very seldom. The pilot’s licences that were presented to the enquiry were false. They were issued posthumously.
At the time I was co-pipot of a DC-10 of the Mozambique Airlines. During a flight from Lisbon to Maputo the Captain and I demonstrated to Mariano Matsinhe and another Frelimo Minister that was on board, what had really happened. They were our guests in the cockpit. We even made the turn or the change from the initial course as well as the incorrect manipulation of the navigation instruments’ selectors to show them what had happened on the night of the Mbuzini accident.
Besides not having taken sufficient reserve fuel what happened was that, out of the 5 crew members in the cockpit, 3 were occupied in dividing up and drinking the leftover alcoholic beverages until 6 minutes before the final impact. Only the co-pilot and the navigator were “taking care” of the flight. All this was recorded on the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder).
The Captain only realised that they were lost 3 minutes before the final impact. The confusion was so great that they paid no attention to the audio alarm (GPWS or Ground Proximity Warning Signal) that the aircaft was about to hit the ground without being in the configuration for landing. They broke many basic “golden rules” of flying, but the most critical was that, having arrived at the “safe altitude” published for Maputo as 3000 feet, they continued to descend without having visual contact with the ground or, alternatively, having the correct electronic indications of the Maputo navigation equipment. In this case the ILS (Instrument Landing System) or the VOR (VHF Omni-directional Range beacon) of Maputo. What ensued was that, instead of selecting the ILS for Maputo (110.3), they mistakenly selected the VOR of Matsapa (112.3) and they changed course for the Radial 045 of Matsapa instead of being on Radial 045 of the VOR of Maputo. The navigator of the Tupolev made the mistake, for, in the Russian system, the navigators select the radio guidance systems and not the pilots. He had already selected the VOR for Maputo (112.7), but in changing the frequency for the ILS of Maputo (110.3), which is a radio guidance system for approaching the runway and not a route navigation beacon, he committed the fatal error.
The knobs for selecting decimal points are independent of the knobs for selecting numbers in hundreds. In other words, firstly he had to change from 112 to 110 and after that from 0.7 to 0.3 with a separate and independent knob. What happened was that he left the 112 and only changed the 0.7 to 0.3, which happened to coincide with the frequency of the VOR of Matsapa. It was this incorrect manipulation of the systems that led the crew to make a course change. As they were “distracted” in the cockpit no one verified the change of frequency. One of the basic rules is that, whenever something is changed in the cockpit, this action has to be verified and accepted by the other pilot. None of this was done.
These were the immediate causes of the accident, but there were other factors that also contibuted, such as crew fatigue, the lack of reserve fuel, the lengthy inactivity of the crew, a lack of verification of the flight simulator flight training, etc. An aviation accident never occurs in isolation. It is always the accumulation of events that ends in tragedy. I do not want to be arrogant, but my experience of 31 years in aviation as well as participation in aeronautical accident investigations gives me the liberty to speak on these matters.
After so many years of the ANC being in power in South Africa and despite the many investigations on the part of the new South African authorities, whether at the level of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or by the police mandated by President Thabo Mbeki more than two years ago, no vestige of an attempt by the South African authorities of the former regime to interfere in this flight has been found. The conspiracy theories therefore are circulated by untruthful so-called internal experts, which is very suspicious and without content. The facts speak for themselves ........