Weeks after the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane that crashed in Islamabad killing 97, the country’s aviation minister tells the Parliament that pilots were not focused in flying and were discussing coronavirus all the way through.
According to PTI, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in an interim investigation report on the PIA plane crash stated that the pilot was not focused on flying and hence the crash. Summing up all the findings that took the plane down in a deadly crash, the minister said human errors from both the pilots and the Air Traffic Control were the reason for the accident and not a technical fault.
The report comes in contrast to the previous reports where it was known that moments before the plane crash pilots conveyed there was a technical problem in the flight. The flight PK 8303, an Airbus A320 crashed near Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport killing all the 97 onboard, spearing two miraculously.
The minister was quoted as saying:
“The pilots and the ATC both did not follow the protocol.
“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 corona throughout the flight. They were not focussed. They talked about corona […] 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,” the minister told, adding he himself heard the conversation.
Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan also noted that the plane touched the runway thrice, without landing gear, thereby damaging the engine. While the fourth time it took off again, both the engines were already damaged by then.
Shockingly, it turned out more than 40% of pilots in the PIA fleet were till now flying aircraft with a fake license, and the minister admitted many pilots were recruited on a political basis and not based on merit. Four pilots of the national airlines have been found to possess fake licenses.
However, the government will now look into the matter, hold the corrupted accountable and ‘restructure’ the PIA.
(Cover image courtesy of @Its_Atiffff via Twitter)