The private jet that crashed killing three members of Osama bin Laden’s family was travelling almost twice as fast as the recommended speed, accident investigators have found.
The plane was travelling 40 per cent faster than the recommended landing speed when it crashed at Blackbushe Airport in Surrey on July 31 last year, smashing into a bank of earth at the end of the runway before crashing into several parked cars.
Accident investigators said the pilot’s judgement may have been impeded by a ‘high workload’ and ‘mental overload’.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the Jordanian pilot landed too far down the runway after taking a steep descent to avoid a microlight, Sky News reports.
All three passengers, who included bin Laden’s stepmother Raja Bashir Hashem, 75, survived the impacts but died from the effects of a fire that engulfed the plane.
Bashir Hashem’s daughter Sana bin Laden, 53, was also killed alongside Zouheir Anuar Hashem, 56, and the pilot, 58-year-old Mazen Salim Alqasim.
Investigators found the pilot’s ‘mental capacity could have become saturated’ after he was given 66 audio warnings, instructions and messages during the three minutes and 32 seconds before reaching the start of the runway.
The report stated:
It is possible that in these circumstances the pilot … fixated on his initial strategy – landing – and lacked the mental capacity to recognise that the approach had become unstable and should be discontinued.
Bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, who claimed responsibility for the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States, was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011. He had been disowned in 1994 by his family after Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship due to his militant activities.
He is believed to have had more than 50 brothers and sisters and many stepmothers.