Crashed PIA plane’s pilot did not follow ATC instructions: Pakistan aviation authority

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Published: June 4, 2020 2:17 PM

A total of 97 people, including three children, were killed and two passengers miraculously survived a fiery crash when the plane with 99 travellers on board plunged into a densely populated residential area near the airport here on May 22.

Crashed PIA, pakistan aviation authority, pakistan international airport, Civil Aviation Authority, AAIBTaking strong exception, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa) said on Wednesday that release of limited details about the crash was tantamount to influencing the ongoing investigation, the report said. (Reuters photo)

Pakistan’s aviation authority has said that the pilot of the Pakistan International Airlines plane which crashed here last month did not follow the instructions of the air traffic controller, according to a media report on Thursday.

A total of 97 people, including three children, were killed and two passengers miraculously survived a fiery crash when the plane with 99 travellers on board plunged into a densely populated residential area near the airport here on May 22.

Flight PK-8303 from Lahore crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, minutes before its landing in Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Eleven people on the ground were injured. A 13-year-old girl died this week, taking the death toll in the accident to 98.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a letter on June 2 to the national carrier that the pilot of the crashed aircraft did not follow the instructions of the air traffic controller (ATC), Dawn newspaper reported.

The letter from the CAA official Iftikhar Ahmed to the PIA safety and quality assurance department, while pointing out “non-compliance of ATC instructions” by PK-8303, asked him to “ensure avoidance of recurrence of such situation in the interest of flight safety”.

The CAA letter said the duty approach controller had raised a non-compliance report in respect of the pilot of PK-8303. It claimed that the pilot was warned twice about his speed and high altitude for approach but he did not follow, it added.

It said that PK-8303 was cleared to an altitude of 3,000 feet while entering the control zone that is 25 nautical miles (NM), but the aircraft was spotted at a high altitude of over 5,000 feet over Makli, it added.

“The same was communicated to the pilot who reported comfortable descent. Later, at 10NM the pilot was again cautioned by offering an orbit to adjust his high altitude for approach, which he did not accept,” it added.

Taking strong exception, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa) said on Wednesday that release of limited details about the crash was tantamount to influencing the ongoing investigation, the report said.

Meanwhile, the French air safety organisation announced on Wednes­day that the data from the black box of the Airbus A-320 was successfully downloaded and being analysed, the report said.

The French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) said in a tweet on Wednesday that the data of flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) — the two components of a plane’s black box — was successfully downloaded by the BEA.

“Analysis of data in progress and will continue this week,” the BEA tweet said. It mentioned that it was doing so at the request of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board (AAIB) and any further communication would be made after “mutual concurrence”.

On Tuesday, the French air safety organisation said technical work was started in its lab in the presence of the AAIB president.

The BEA was part of an 11-member team of experts, sent by plane manufacturer Airbus, which came to Pakistan on May 26 and stayed here for a week and took part in the air crash probe. They left Karachi for Paris on Monday along with the FDR and CVR.

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