PIA plane's pilots ignored three warnings to lower altitude: Report
Lahore : The pilot of crashed PIA plane ignored three warnings to lower their altitude from air traffic controllers, saying he was satisfied and would handle the situation, according to a report on Monday.
Incidentally, the flight never managed to land safely on the ground and was crashed meters away from the Karachi airport after its engines failed. 97 people were killed and two miraculously survived in the accident.
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.
Instead of lowering the altitude, the pilot responded by saying that he was satisfied. When only 10 nautical miles were left till the airport, the plane was at an altitude of 7,000 feet instead of 3,000 feet, it said.
The ATC issued a second warning to the pilot to lower the plane’s altitude. However, the pilot responded again by stating that he was satisfied and would handle the situation, saying he was ready for landing, the report said.
Now, the investigators are trying to find out if the crash happened due to the negligence of the pilots or it was due to any technical glitch.
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. When the cockpit was reminded to go for the 3,000 feet level, the first officer said ‘we are trying’,” the report said.
Failing to get the desired height indicates that the engines were failing. The aircraft, thereafter, tilted and crashed suddenly.
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.
Since the crash, the PIA has called off its domestic services.