The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed. (PTI)
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash last month was caused by the negligence of the cockpit crew and the air control tower and not due to any technical fault, according to a preliminary investigation report on the tragedy that killed 97 people onboard.
The domestic flight from Lahore to Karachi crashed in a residential area near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on May 22.
The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed into the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir on Friday, minutes before its landing. One girl died on the ground after suffering burn injuries.
Two passengers miraculously survived the crash.
A probe was commissioned by the government with the commitment that the initial report would be shared with Parliament on June 22.
But Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan handed the report to Prime Minister Imran Khan instead of Parliament.
The report showed that pilot and air traffic control officials were primarily responsible, according to officials.
The Express Tribune reported that the initial probe showed that the CAA officials, the cockpit crew, the control tower and the air traffic control repeatedly made mistakes. It reported 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 a 9,000-meter long runway.
The control tower permitted landing despite the 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 the 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 aircraft were allowed to land on the runway.
This was a violation of the standard operating procedure as it could cause damage to other aircraft.
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, according to the Express Tribune.
The aviation minister told the National Assembly on Monday that the report will be shared with parliament on Wednesday as he confirmed sharing it with the Prime Minister.
Official sources said that the report was shared with the aviation ministry on Monday and investigation team head Air Commodore Usman Ghani gave a detailed briefing while submitting the report.
The minister said other reports on different air incidents since 2010, including Air Blue and Bhoja airlines’ plane crashes in Islamabad and PIA plane crash near Haripur etc would also be shared.