Crashed PIA Pilots Weren’t Focused & Were Discussing Coronavirus, Says Aviation Minister


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On Wednesday, Federal Minister for Aviation – Ghulam Sarwar Khan – presented the interim investigation report on the Karachi PIA plane crash that killed all but 2 of its 99 passengers which took place on 22nd May. In said report, the minister said that the pilots of the said crashed plane were distracted by a conversation about the coronavirus pandemic.

Talking to the parliament about the reasons for the tragedy, the Aviation Minister cited the “overconfidence and lack of concentration” of the pilots of the flight. Sarwar said that the cabin crew and ATC were also responsible for the crash. “Human error by the pilots and air traffic control caused the crash of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane,” he said.

The minister highlighted the pilots’ fault in ignoring the instructions of the air traffic control on the height of the aircraft and the ATC’s fault on not following standard protocol. He said,

“The pilots and the ATC both did not follow the protocol.”


Going into details, Ghulam Khan stated;

“The pilot ignored the instructions of the air traffic controllers and the ATC, on the other hand, did not inform the pilot about the engine colliding. The pilots were discussing coronavirus throughout the flight. They were not focused. They talked about corona as their families were affected. When the control tower asked him to increase the plane’s height, the pilot said ‘I’ll manage’. There was overconfidence.”

No Technical Fault In The PIA Aircraft

Sarwar said that the initial report made it clear that there was no technical fault with the aircraft. He added that the conversation between the pilot and the air traffic controllers was recorded and he heard it himself. In said conversation with the ATC, the pilot had pointed that out too, said Khan. He noted that the plane had touched the runway three times with no landing gear. This led to the damage to its engine. “When the plane took off again, both its engines had been damaged,” he said.

Talking about how pilots nowadays are hired on no merit, he said that 40 per cent of the country’s pilots were flying planes with no or fake licenses. “Pilots are also appointed on a political basis, unfortunately. Whilst appointing pilots, merit is ignored,” revealing that degrees of four PIA pilots had been found out to be fake before.

He closed off the report by assuring that all the people responsible will be punished accordingly and the full report will get published in one-year time. He concluded;

“Those who are responsible will be held accountable.” 


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