Italian investigators have begun a criminal trial against Si-Fly and Balmoral, operators of the ATR 42 that crashed into a mountain near Pristina, Kosovo, during a humanitarian relief mission carried out by the World Food Programme in 1999, writes Pino Modola.

An investigation by the attorney’s office of Tempio Pausania, which is also looking at the “bogus parts” spares market, found that Si-Fly had been aware of malfunctioning navigation avionics in the ATR 42-300, months before the Pristina accident. But the new radio altimeter ordered from ATR was discovered still packed in Si Fly’s warehouse.

The aircraft hit a 4,530ft (1,380m) peak in the final segment of the Rome-Pristina flight on 12 November 1999, with apparently no ground proximity warning having been generated by the radio altimeter. All 21 passengers and three crew on board died. Preliminary hearings are aimed at finding out if the ATR 42 was equipped with a non-compliant radio altimeter, possibly contributing to the accident.

Source: Flight International