Dutch State partly liable in 1992 Faro plane crash, court rules

Martainair DC10 crashed in Faro, Portugal on 21 December 1992
Martainair DC10 crashed in Faro, Portugal on 21 December 1992Pedro AragãoWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The Dutch State is partly responsible for a plane crash in Faro in 1992 in which 57 people were killed and 106 seriously injured, the court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday. Survivors of the disaster and victims' relatives have been litigating against the State for years in an attempt to find out the causes of the disaster, AD reports.

The DC10 of Dutch airline Martinair crashed in Faro, Portugal upon landing on 21 December 1992. There were 327 passengers on board, mainly Dutch heading to the Algarve for Christmas. 54 passengers and two crew members were killed in the crash, and more than 200 people were injured. A rescue worker died shortly after the plane crash. 

A report by three experts - two French pilots and a German engineer - after the disaster blamed the crash of flight DC10 on sudden extreme weather conditions, rain and strong winds. Although airline Martinair and the then Council of Aviation, part of the Dutch State, stuck to this explanation, Portuguese researchers found no evidence based on the black box that weather conditions caused the crash.

The 26 survivors and relatives asked that the three experts who wrote the report be questioned under oath. According to them, the report is full of "errors" and "demonstrably false claims". The claimants based this on, among other things, reports from their own experts, who concluded that the pilots made serious procedural errors. They should have postponed the landing or diverted it. 

The State argued that "deliberate recklessness of the commander" could not be demonstrated. But the court ruled that the State is at least partly liable in this disaster.