August 2000 - Gulf Air 072
On 23 August 2000, Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into the Persian Gulf
on approach to Bahrain International Airport from Cairo.
The A320, registration A40-EK, with 143 passengers and crew on board
approached the landing at higher speeds than normal and carried out
an unusual low altitude orbit in an attempt to correct the approach.
The orbit was unsuccessful and a go-around was attempted. While carrying
out a turning climb the aircraft entered a descent at 15 degrees nose
down. The aircrew did not respond to repeated GPWS warnings and approximately
one minute after starting the go-around the aircraft disappeared from
radar screens. There were no survivors. 36 children were on the aircraft.
The accident investigation concluded that the primary cause of the
crash was pilot error (including spatial disorientation), with a secondary
factor being systemic organizational and oversight issues.
Flight 072 was the highest death toll of any accident involving an
Airbus A320 at that time. It was subsequently surpassed by TAM Airlines
Flight 3054, which crashed on 17 July 2007 with 199 fatalities.
After the accident Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, the Emir of Bahrain,
declared three days of national mourning.
the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcript