Plane crash inquiry report to be made public on June 22 – aviation minister

Security personnel stand beside the wreckage of a plane at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed in a residential area days before, in Karachi on May 24, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Plane crash inquiry report to be made public on June 22 – aviation minister

  • Ghulam Sarwar Khan revealed the pilot of the ill-fated plane made three botched attempts to make belly-landing
  • Out of 97 plane crash victims, bodies of 51 have been identified with the help of DNA tests

ISLAMABAD: The government will present the inquiry report of last week’s plane crash before a parliamentary session on June 22, said the country’s aviation minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, on Thursday while requesting the media and the public not to speculate about the causes of the accident.
“This will be a provisional inquiry report based on free and fair investigation [into the incident]. Nobody should have any confusion about it,” the minister said while promising to release all the inquiry reports of the past 11 plane crashes as well
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 99 people including crew members crashed into a residential area near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi last Friday, resulting in 97 casualties. Two passengers miraculously survived the incident.
“It is my commitment to the nation that all information [related to the plane crash] will be shared with the public in the minimum possible time,” the minister said while announcing to lay the inquiry report in an upcoming parliamentary session on June 22.
Pakistan has a checkered history of aviation safety record that includes a number of air crashes. The country has witnessed 12 plane crashes including the recent one since 1947, out of which 10 involved PIA flights. The other two planes belonged to Air Blue and Bhoja Air.
The minister said that an independent inquiry board was looking into all aspects of the recent crash while an 11-member French team of experts had also collected evidence from the site of the incident to ascertain the causes of the accident.
“Why did this accident happen, how it happened and who is responsible for it, the whole nation is concerned about it,” the minister said, adding that all inquiry reports, including those focusing on past accidents, would not only be made public but also used to take action against all those who were found guilty of negligence.
He said that voice and data records had been found, and the French investigators would take them back to their country to decode them. “There are technical questions that you or I cannot answer. So, we will wait for experts to tell us,” he said.
“Whoever is held responsible [for the accident] will face dire consequences,” the minister said.
He also revealed that the pilot of the ill-fated plane tried to make belly-landing three times without announcing that its landing gears were not extending.
“It is a million-dollar question that he [the pilot] touched the runway three times, but then again lifted the plane up in the air,” he said, adding that the inquiry team would try to answer all the queries.
Out of 97 bodies, 51 have been handed over to their families after identification with the help of DNA tests while the identification process for the remaining bodies is still underway. “We are trying our best to hand over the bodies to their families as soon as possible,” the minister said.
He added that the government teams were surveying the damaged property and vehicles on the crash site to compensate the residents of Model Colony where the plane crashed.
“At least 15 homes are completely destroyed …. We will fully compensate their owners,” he added.

PIA resumes UAE flights with new coronavirus screening rules

Updated 21 min 57 sec ago

PIA resumes UAE flights with new coronavirus screening rules

  • Passengers will have to get tested 48 hours prior to departure and present a negative report at check-in, PIA says
  • PIA has been operating one-way flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded in the Emirates but now has permission to resume regular operations

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, on Thursday resumed regular flight operations to the United Arab Emirates with new rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The rate of COVID-19 cases has been rising fast in Pakistan, with 4,983 deaths and 240,848 infections as of Thursday morning. 

“Now PIA passengers will be able to travel from Pakistan to Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and vice versa, through the airline’s regular flights,” the PIA spokesperson said in a statement.

However, he said passengers would now be required to get tested for coronavirus 48 hours prior to flight departure and a negative test report would have to be presented at the time of check-in. Passengers would also be required to fill a health declaration form online.

PIA has been operating one-way relief flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded in the Emirates but now had permission to operate regular flights again, the statement said.

“Passengers can book and purchase their tickets through PIA Offices, Corporate website and its travel agents,” PIA said.

Earlier this month UAE airline Emirates resumed flights to Pakistan after a brief suspension but made coronavirus clearance obligatory for all passengers, including asking that passengers from Pakistan carry a negative COVID-19 report from a laboratory approved by the airline.