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Injuries Blamed on Warning System

August 9, 2002

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ A faulty warning system on an America West jet is being blamed for a mid-flight jolt that injured four flight attendants in 1999, according to a federal report.

The National Transportation Safety Board report linked the incident, in which pilots pulled up abruptly after receiving a false warning, to a history of poor maintenance.

``The systematic failure of the airline’s maintenance department to identify and correct the long-standing history of intermittent faults, nuisance warnings and erratic behavior in this airplane’s ground proximity warning system″ is the probable cause of this incident, according to the report on the NTSB’s Web site.

Jim Sabourin, a spokesman for Tempe-based America West, said he wasn’t aware of the report or the investigation. But he said the board’s findings were moot because the airline overhauled its maintenance operations and record-keeping system in 2000.

``At this point, it’s fruitless to discuss a particular incident when we know our maintenance procedures and record keeping have improved dramatically,″ he said.

On Sept. 20, 1999, Flight 2208 from Los Angeles to Phoenix abruptly pulled up over southwest Arizona when the Boeing 757 issued a false warning after the airplane overflew another aircraft traveling in the opposite direction, the report states.

The maneuver was severe enough to break the legs of two flight attendants who were in the plane’s galley. Two other flight attendants suffered minor injuries.

None of the 173 passengers was hurt.

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On the Net:

America West: http://www.americawest.com

NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/

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