TEL AVIV (Mar. 21)
Israeli toxicologists were divided today over the interpretation of an unofficial report purported to be a laboratory analysis of the blood content of the French pilot of the Libyan airliner shot down by Israeli fighter planes over Sinai Feb. 21. According to the report, traces of barbiturates and alcohol were found in the dead pilot’s blood.
The report, prepared by the Forensic Medicine Institute laboratory, was sent to France along with other information asked by a French committee that visited Israel last month to investigate the crash. Israeli authorities said today that no official evaluation has been made and cautioned that all interpretations of the report must be regarded with the utmost reservations.
Toxicologists were arguing over whether the pilot’s blood content could have influenced his reported erratic actions during a 15-minute period when, lost in Israeli air space, he ignored signals from Israeli fighter planes to land.
According to the reported lab analysis, the pilot’s blood contained 0.5 percent of luminal, a barbiturate and traces of alcohol. Dr. George Tajar, of the Forensic Medicine Institute, said the barbiturates were a cumulative compound and the time of their intake could not be determined. He said the alcohol content was, in his judgement, not above normal.
Other experts, including airline medical personnel, said that the consumption of barbiturates and alcohol has a serious effect on the clarity of thinking. They said pilots are forbidden to consume drugs of any sort within 24 hours of flight time and may not drink any alcoholic beverage later than 12 hours before take-off.