Plane crash caused by pilot’s overconfidence, says Aviation minister
The May 22 plane crash that killed 99 people on board was a result of “human error” especially the airline pilot — who also died in the crash — and the air traffic control (ATC) officials, said Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan while addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Sarwar said the initial report on the investigation of the incident showed the airline pilot and ATC officials both ignored standard protocols as the two were discussing coronavirus while communicating with each other as the flight neared the Karachi International Airport tarmac.
The PIA flight PK8303 crashed in a suburban area of Model Colony, Karachi as it hit a residential area located a kilometre before the landing strip of the Karachi International Airport.
The crash killed around 99 passengers on board. However, two passengers survived the flight.
Sarwar said the plane was absolutely fit to fly and had no technical faults of any kind.
He said “the plane was 100 per cent fit for flying. It had no technical fault. Flights were suspended due to corona, the plane took its first flight on May 7 and the crash happened on May 22. In between, it completed six flights successfully; five to and from Karachi and one to Sharjah.”
He added that the pilot, while approaching the landing, also did not declare any technical fault in the plane.
He said the things began to go wrong when the plane, just 10 miles away from the runway, was flying at an altitude of 7,220 instead of 2,500 feet — the recommended height before landing.
The ATC officials warned the pilot of his steep descent but the pilot ignored all warnings.
Sarwar said the pilot was “over-confident” and was discussing coronavirus with the crew and ATC officials throughout the flight. He said the pilot was extremely experienced, he was not focused during the said flight.
On the other hand, the minister said the fault also lies with the ATC officials, who despite watching the plane’s engines catching fire failed to inform the pilot. He said “The control tower did not inform the pilot [so it] was at fault too.”
In another startling revelation, the minister said that more than 40pc of the PIA’s pilots were flying planes with fake licenses. He said that most of the appointments in the national carrier were done through political influence rather than merit.
He said the government has launched an investigation against fake license holders and will take strict action against them in due time.