• Kyodo

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Prosecutors filed an appeal Friday against a ruling that found a Japan Airlines captain not guilty of professional negligence when his plane encountered air turbulence in 1997, injuring 14 people on board, including a cabin crew member who eventually died.

Yoshihiro Nanbu, deputy chief prosecutor of the Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office, said they decided to appeal the Nagoya District Court’s decision to acquit Koichi Takamoto, calling the court’s failure to recognize the captain’s negligence a “huge mistake.”

On July 31, the court acquitted Takamoto, 54, who was in command of Flight 706, an MD-11 with 179 passengers and crew members on board, from Hong Kong to Nagoya on June 8, 1997.

Presiding Judge Yoji Ishiyama said the violent jarring of the aircraft near Nagoya was mainly attributable to the pilot intentionally overriding the autopilot by pulling the controls abruptly, but ruled that the pilot could not have predicted the injuries and that there was no proof of any criminal act.

In appealing the court decision, however, Nanbu said Takamoto “made (flight) maneuvers that other captains would not have done and (he) could have predicted the danger of causing an accident resulting in death or injury.”

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