Stressed pilots, ground staff blamed for deadly Pakistan crash – Report

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Ghulam Sarwar Khan

A preliminary investigation on Wednesday blamed pilots and air traffic control for the crash of an Airbus A320 that killed 97 passengers and crew in southern Pakistan in May.

The plane, operated by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), crashed moments before landing on the Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport on May 22, killing all but two onboard.

An inquiry jointly conducted by Pakistan’s civil aviation authorities and experts from French manufacturer Airbus found there was no technical fault in the plane.

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said when he presented the report in the parliament, the plane was 100 percent fit to fly.

“The pilots and the air traffic control officials didn’t follow the standard procedures that caused the crash,’’ the minister added.

Pilots were constantly discussing the coronavirus pandemic during the one-hour flight as they had infected members in their families, the minister said, quoting from the pilots’ recorded conversation.

“The pilot opened the landing gears at the distance of 10 nautical miles from the runway but pulled them back halfway,’’ Khan said.

The pilots ignored air traffic control’s instructions not to land but to take a go-around. The plane’s engines were damaged during the first landing attempt.

The pilots took off again and crashed the plane while making another attempt to land. “Air traffic control did not intervene when the plane touched down for the first time and the engines were damaged,’’ the report showed. (dpa/NAN)

– Jun. 24, 2020 @ 12:07 GMT |

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