Last month’s tragic crash of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane in Karachi took place due to human errors – the negligence of both the cockpit crew as well as the air control tower – and not because of any technical fault.
There was apparently no technical fault in the aircraft, said the preliminary investigation report submitted to the Aviation Division in a high level meeting on Monday.
PIA flight PK8303, carrying 99 people including 8 crew members, crashed into a densely populated residential area near Karachi airport on May 22 as it was making its second attempt to land. 97 people perished in the accident that also caused considerable damage to the residential areas.
A day after the incident, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had notified an investigation team headed by its Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board (AAIB) President Air Commodore Usman Ghani
The team that also comprised Wing Commander Malik Imran, Technical Investigation Group Additional Director Captain Touqeer, Pakistan Air Force Safety Board Ops Investigator Kamran and Air Traffic Control Ops Joint Director Nasir Majeed was to submit its preliminary report on June 22.
On Monday Air Commodore Ghani gave a detailed briefing to the Aviation Division officials.
According to the report, the CAA officials, the cockpit crew, the control tower and the air traffic control repeatedly made mistakes. Sources privy to the document said the aircraft’s black box has so far not indicated the possibility of any technical fault.
The report said both the speed and the altitude of the aircraft was more than the recommended parameters when the pilot tried first landing. In the first landing, the aircraft touched the ground at the middle of 9,000 meter long runway.
The control tower permitted landing despite greater speed and altitude. The air traffic control also did not provide the control tower with the radio frequency.
The pilot also did not inform the control tower about jamming of the landing gears. It was also wrong decision on part of the pilot to attempt a second landing.
The plane stayed in the air for 17 minutes after the first landing attempt, a crucial time during which both the engines of the aircraft failed.
It said fragments of the PIA aircraft’s engine stayed on the runway for 12 hours but the air site unit did not collect them and later other aircrafts were allowed to land on the runway. This was a violation of the standard operating procedure as it could case damaged to other aircrafts.
According to the report the air traffic control officials should have been relieved after the incident but they continued to perform their duties till 7pm. It said the aircraft’s first engine was installed on February 25, 2019 while its second engine was installed on May 27, 2019.
All three landing gears of the aircraft were installed on October 18, 2014. The fateful plane was 16-year-old and was manufactured in 2004. The plane was included in the PIA fleet in October 2014.
Minister for Civil Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan Monday told the National Assembly that the interim report on the plane crash will be presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday. He confirmed that he has received the report and also shared it with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The report on the plane accident will be put before the house along with reports on other air crash incidents that occurred since 2010 including Air Blue and Bhoja airlines’ plane crashes in Islamabad, PIA plane crash in Gilgit and other plane accidents,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Division disowned the report aired by certain television channels regarding provisional inquiry report into the plane crash.
“Media friends are informed that couple of TV channels have been referring to a report regarding crash of PIA flight PK-8303. No such report has been issued by the Aviation Division,” spokesperson Abdul Sattar Khokhar said in a brief statement.
The report, being circulated through the two TV channels, was not from any authentic source, he added.