Investigators are still puzzling over the behaviour of the captain in the final moments before the crash of a Brit Air Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet at Brest, France.

During three previous flights that afternoon nothing unusual had happened, and the final flight went smoothly until barely 30s before the 22 June crash.

The co-pilot's testimony describes the 53-year-old, highly experienced captain failing to respond to either 22s of ground proximity warning system (GPWS) alerts, or to his own comments as the Brit Air aircraft deviated below and away from the correct path.

Following the initial "glide-slope" alert from the GPWS, the report says: "[The co-pilot] looked at the captain. The captain was sitting in a normal position, looking at his instruments, both hands on the control column."

The co-pilot put his hand on the take-off/go-around button on the throttle while still looking at the captain. "The captain had his gaze fixed on the instruments and made no response to what was happening. The co-pilot pulled back on the controls, which felt as though they were blocked, and he pushed the throttles forward without knowing the thrust applied," says the report.

The GPWS sounded a final "pull up" warning, but the co-pilot was only able to cushion the ensuing landing in a field.

Only the captain died and investigators say his impact injuries were sufficient to kill him. His body was badly burned in the post-crash fire, however, and the cause of death is not yet known.

Source: Flight International