Despite complaining to employers about feeling the urge to crash aeroplanes, mentally ill QANTAS pilot Bryan Arthur Griffin was employed by the Australian airline for three years between 1979 and 1982.
Mr Griffin resigned from his position due to suffering from severe anxiety attacks, depression and an obsessive compulsive disorder.
The ex-pilot’s plight has come to light after he lodged a claim with the Worker’s Compensation Commission, claiming his position was made worse due to remaining in his position as a pilot.
Evidence presented to the Commission has suggested Mr Griffin had to fight the urge to not switch the plane’s engines off mid flight.
The Commission heard that Mr Griffin’s hand ”involuntarily moved towards the start levers” while he was running through an emergency procedure on a flight to Singapore.
He was forced to ”immobilise his left arm in order not to act on the compulsion. He left the flight deck and, once he felt calm enough, returned to his seat.”
Despite admitting the sudden urges to colleagues and superiors, a brief medical examination suggested he was fit to remain in his position.
A report from Mr Griffin’s psychiatrist said the airline had failed to consider ”the danger which you brought to passengers flying with you and the public generally, should you have crashed an aircraft”.
The report said Mr Griffin should have been medically retired at the time of his acute problems.
The Commission found Mr Griffin to be in the right, ordering QANTAS to pay Mr Griffin over $160,000 in damages. The Commission handed down the ruling suggesting the severity of Mr Griffin’s condition could have been limited upon earlier intervention.
QANTAS is currently considering an appeal for the case.