ATC, approach tower controllers submit written reply to probe board

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KARACHI, May 26 (DNA): The Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and approach
tower controllers have submitted written reply to the investigation
board probing into Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane, PK-8303,
crash incident.

Major progress has been made in the investigation into PIA plane crash
incident as ATC and approach tower controllers submitted their written
responses before the aircraft accident and investigation.

It stated that the approach tower controller had handled the flight from
Lahore to Karachi and the task was handed over to the ATC to make the
plane safely landed at the airport. The landing task had been given by
the approach tower to the ATC after 10 nautical miles.

The air traffic controller told the probe board that Captain Sajjad Gul
of the ill-fated PIA flight neglected the instructions about the
altitude and speed of the aircraft before landing thrice. He “would
handle the situation” before the aircraft crashed into a narrow
residential street, bringing significant damage to houses in a
densely-populated neighborhood.

The Karachi-bound jet 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 ATC issued its first warning to lower
the plane’s altitude.

However, the report said, 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. The pilot responded again by stating that he was satisfied and
would handle the situation, saying he was ready for landing.

The ATC added that both engines of the aircraft were badly damaged after
hitting the ground as the plane landed without opening landing gear. It
seems that the captain forgot to open the landing gear while maintaining
speed and altitude of the aircraft, said the air traffic controller.

Later, the captain had asked permission to land once again and informed
the control tower that both engines of the aircraft were not working.
The plane had been granted permission to land at the left side of runway
number 25.

According to the ATC and approach tower controller, the captain of the
aircraft had been informed them regarding any kind of emergency. The
captain had told the air traffic controller that he was calm and he will
manage to land the aircraft.

The report said that the plane had enough fuel to fly for two hours and
34 minutes, while its total flying time was recorded at one hour and 33
minutes.

The investigators are trying to find out if the crash is attributable to
a pilot error or a technical glitch.

On May 22, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft with more
than 90 passengers and eight crew members on board