PIA’s pilot ignored 3 ATC warnings to lower altitude: Report
KARACHI: According to a report on Monday revealed that the pilot of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane, which crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, had overlooked three warnings given by air traffic controllers(ATC).
The national flag carrier’s PK-8303 tragedy on Friday, in which 97 people were killed and two miraculously survived, is one of the most catastrophic aviation disasters in the country’s history.
An inquiry has been initiated into the PIA plane crash that left 97 people dead. Two people had miraculously survived the PK-8303 crash. The Airbus A-320 from Lahore to Karachi was 15 nautical miles from the Jinnah International Airport, flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet above the ground instead of 7,000 when the Air Traffic Control (ATC) issued its first warning to lower the plane”s altitude, Geo News quoted an ATC report as saying.
In response, the pilot said that he was satisfied. The ATC report added that when the plane should have been at an altitude of 3,000 feet when only 10 nautical miles were left, the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 7,000 feet.
The ATC then sent a second warning to the pilot to lower the plane’s altitude. However, the pilot reiterated that he was satisfied and added that he would handle the situation.Investigators are attempting to ascertain if the crash can be attributed to a pilot error or a technical glitch.
The report said that the plane had enough fuel to fly for two hours and 34 minutes, while its total flying time was recorded at one hour and 33 minutes. According to a report prepared by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the plane”s engines had scraped the runway thrice on the pilot”s first attempt to land, causing friction and sparks recorded by the experts.
The pilot made a decision “on his own” to undertake a “go-around” after he failed to land the first time. It was only during the go-around that the ATC was informed that landing gear was not deploying, it said. “The pilot was directed by the air traffic controller to take the aircraft to 3,000 feet, but he managed only 1,800.
The probe team, headed by Air Commodore Muhammad Usman Ghani, President of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board, is expected to submit a full report in about three months. According to the PIA’s engineering and maintenance department, the last check of the plane was done on March 21 this year and it had flown from Muscat to Lahore a day before the crash.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pakistan government had allowed the limited domestic flight operations from five major airports – Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta – from May 16. After the plane tragedy, the PIA has called off its domestic operation.
(Agency Report with Geo News inputs).