Fresh inquiry holds weather, pilot & ATC responsible

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PESHAWAR: The fresh inquiry report of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the Airblue plane crash has revealed that besides the pilot and inclement weather, the air traffic controller (ATC) of the control tower was also responsible for the air crash, which claimed the lives of all 152 people onboard. The CCA on Thursday submitted its 25-page inquiry report to a division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Syed Afsar Shah.

The president of CAA’s Safety Investigation Board, Air Commodore Muhammad Abdul Basit, CAA senior legal adviser Obaidur Rehman Abbasi, Abdul Shakoor Paracha, lawyer for CAA director general, and Tanvirul Islam, counsel for Defence Ministry, appeared in the case and presented the report.

The court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the previous inquiry conducted by the Safety Investigation Board of CAA wherein errors by the pilot and inclement weather were held responsible for the air crash.

However, the fresh inquiry report also held the ATC responsible for the crash as both the radar and ATC could have brought the aircraft out of this situation by rendering assistance. It accused the ATC of lack of knowledge, training and ambiguous procedures in the type of scenario the aircraft was flying in the last phase of flight.

The report stated that the aircrew failed to display superior judgment and professional skills in a self-created unsafe environment. It said that in their pursuit to land in an inclement weather, they committed serious violations of procedures and breaches of flying disciplines, which put the aircraft in an unsafe condition over dangerous terrain at low altitude. However, the report also said the negligence and little experience of the ATC in the control tower was also responsible for the air crash.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) experts’ report conducted on the high court order, the pilot was suffering from spatial disorientation. This condition occurs when a pilot is unable to correctly interpret the aircraft’s attitude (movement), altitude (height) or airspeed, in relation to the point of reference.

“The aircraft went out of the pilot’s control after it abruptly showed an altitude of 3,110 ft a few seconds ahead of the incident. The ICAO report contained 15 safety recommendations, which were not in accordance with the ICAO rules.

The Safety Investigation Board (SIB), a body, which falls under the CAA, is responsible for investigating air accidents in Pakistan. The foreign experts stated that the SIB is not an independent and impartial organisation and cannot investigate in a transparent manner and suggested to be made as independent from the CAA.

The bench adjourned the case and directed the CAA officials to present the CAA recommendations in the light of the inquiry reports for avoiding such incidents in future and ensuring passengers and aircraft safety in future.


Courtesy: The News

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