Bhoja crash: Investigations may not take too long, says DG CAA

Published: April 21, 2012

Soldiers stand amid the wreckage of a Boeing 737 airliner that crashed in Islamabad April 21, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Investigations into the Bhoja air crash might not take too long to complete, Director-General (DG) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Nadeem Yousafzai expressed hope while speaking to the media on Saturday.

“The investigation of this crash may not take too long, as the landing gear was down and the plane crashed on a flat terrain… Its parts disintegrated over almost 4km, which will be easier to assemble and examine,” Yousafzai explained.

He added that the Black Box had been sent over to concerned authorities and its examination might take one month. “Depending on the type of the crash, the final result of the inquiry may take up to three months to one year.”

Ruling out the possibility of harsh weather being the cause of the crash, the DG explained that there are proper systems set up to predict the weather and warnings are issued if the weather is harsh.

“I heard the conversation [between the air control tower and the pilot] myself. The tower told the pilot that it was clear to land. The pilot acknowledged and pulled the landing gear down. But immediately after, the communication got lost and the plane started going into a dive,” he told the media. “What happened in this period needs to be investigated.”

He added that an Airblue flight landed at Islamabad airport around five minutes after the crash and it was “right behind the Bhoja plane”. The visibility was also till 4km, he said.

But the DG refrained from making any final comments on the crash. “There could be other reasons too… I won’t comment and I’ll request you all to refrain from commenting as well… Issuing a statement before the investigation completes can damage the outcome of the inquiry and affect the families of the victims.”

He announced that the investigation will be done on international standards, and Bhoja Air has been directed to issue compensation to the victims’ families at the earliest. “We will monitor their progress.”

When asked whether the CAA was put under political pressure to resume the functions of Bhoja Air, the DG said that the body ranks number 10 worldwide. “We, as a nation, have a culture of mud-slinging… Let me tell you that CAA does not compromise on security.”

He announced that out of 122 victims, bodies of 115 have been identified while the DNA test of 12 is in progress, and 113 bodies have been handed over to the families.

He thanked the government, agencies, the fire department and all other people involved in the rescue work. “I especially want to thank PIA and MD PIA for arranging a flight for the victims’ families and for announcing to carry the bodies free of cost.

The passenger flight travelling from Karachi to Islamabad carrying 121 passengers and six crew members came hurtling down towards the outskirts of Rawalpindi at 6:46pm on Friday evening.

Among the passengers were five infants and six children. There were no survivors.

Bhoja Air’s aged B737-200 took off from Karachi airport at 5:05pm and crashed five nautical miles from Islamabad airport on the village of Hussainabad. However, rescuers said people on the ground remained largely safe as the bulk of the wreckage fell in an open area.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Ali
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:06PM

    well i would like to thank Pak Army Soldiers too who reach the site on time and recovered those bodies..for a person sitting at a seat as important as DG CAA this very essential gratitude was not thing to omit. i’d say that in addition to “mud slinging culture” we also lack sense of proportionality and judgement too as a nation. which makes us forget who is doing good to us n who is doing otherwise…shame mr. DG. MAY ALLAH REST THOSE SOULS IN PEACE..

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  • Humayun Khan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:18PM

    may their soul rest in peace who died in accident. aur ALLAH inki family ko sabr de
    I am very sad very sad when i hear this news at 6:47 P.M

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  • Nadir
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:29PM

    @Ali: Why the rescue 1122 and fire-fighters and ambulances that got there well before the Army are not worthy of thanks?

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Apr 21, 2012 - 6:59PM

    an aircraft which was sold in scrap were in commercial use?

    Probably all the authorites which were involved in giving fitness and permission to fly must have take illegal gratification from the owner of the aircraft Farooq Bhoja, who himself is also a scrap dealer.

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  • [email protected]
    Apr 21, 2012 - 7:31PM

    @Ali:
    exactllyRecommend

  • Awais
    Apr 21, 2012 - 8:20PM

    @ DA CAA

    This plane was 1984 model and most of the safety standards came in practice late 1980s. These standards include, lighting surge protection for plane electronics & for the fuel tank. How come this plane was allowed to fly in Pakistan’s air space? Right money in right pockets?

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  • Apr 21, 2012 - 8:40PM

    Very tragic, so many precious lives lost in airplane disaster. Whatever the reason will be known once the data from flight recorder and the Black Box is analyzed. However, dead will not return.

    Incompetence and corruption going on for a long time, has started showing its consequences. We have buried merit and hope in miracles, blame game and looking for escape goats is not going to help either. If we are serious in stopping recurrence of such tragedies we must be honest with ourselves. Does it serve any purpose to put the owner of Bhoja on exit control list? Was he flying the plane? Was he responsible for the plane’s maintenance? Did he give this aged plane license to fly? MR. Rehman Malik be serious, Impress upon President and the PM that incompetence and corruption at highest level is taking its toll. Take a decision that from now onward merit and merit only, will be the criteria.Recommend

  • Xcaret
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:24PM

    Yup, just blame the pilot and be done with it.

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  • Tehmina
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:38PM

    very sad

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  • Ismail Sultan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:46PM

    The DG said that the body ranks number 10 worldwide.

    What he is talking about? CAA is number 10 in the world for its state-of-art management systems and practices? For technical and safety standards implementation? Now I see why EU is threatening to close the operations of Pakistan’s national airline. They could not understand the high standards by CAA.

    Shame on DG CAA. It is cruel joke to do at this moment of national grief. We need to do investigations from internationally acclaimed Pakistani or foreign professional safety and aviation experts to identify the immediate and management/operational root causes for this incident.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:55PM

    @Xcaret:

    sadly that is true in about 70% of air accidents. But there are always contributing factors as well.

    The buck stops with him/her. He/she is the commander and gets to wear those four gold stripes. But with that glamour and high-salary and perks, comes great responsibility.

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  • Raoul Yeates
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:31AM

    I hope it isn’t another case of “rudder reversal” that plagud the 737s in the past

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  • bell412slaf
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:52AM

    I think we need not to jump in to conclusions. But I would suggest an impartial inquiry and independent body to investigate the circumstances led to this accident. As per the available evidence the aircraft was on the instrument approach and the Co Pilot has made a call to the tower informing that the fuel tanks are burning and the aircraft is out of control. This can be due to a fuel tank explosion due to some reason which we need to investigate. Further, pilot has requested an emergency landing over the immediate surface below due to the above reason.

    Therefore, I want to tell you that the room for pilot error can be ruled out at least for some presentage as the aircraft was on fire before the crash. The government of Pakistan must make every endeavor to do a proper investigation and find the cause/ causes and make immediate measures to avoid recurrence. Pakistan was a country where the civil aviation standards were very high and the most airlines in the region took PIA as a guideline to establish their esteemed airlines.

    So do not give up. Do it properly and come out from there. May God Bless alll the victims and relatives of this unfortunate incident. ( Pilot SriLankan Airlines)

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  • bell412slaf
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:58AM

    I think we need not to jump in to conclusions. But I would suggest an impartial inquiry and independent body to investigate the circumstances led to this accident. As per the available evidence the aircraft was on the instrument approach and the Co Pilot has made a call to the tower informing that the fuel tanks are burning and the aircraft is out of control. This can be due to a fuel tank explosion due to some reason which we need to investigate. Further, pilot has requested an emergency landing over the immediate surface below due to the above reason.

    Therefore, I want to tell you that the room for pilot error can be ruled out at least for some presentage as the aircraft was on fire before the crash. The government of Pakistan must make every endeavor to do a proper investigation and find the cause/ causes and make immediate measures to avoid recurrence. Pakistan was a country where the civil aviation standards were very high and the most airlines in the region took PIA as a guideline to establish their esteemed airlines.

    So do not give up. Do it properly and come out from there. May God Bless alll the victims and relatives of this unfortunate incident. ( Pilot SriLankan Airlines)

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  • Ali
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:39PM

    @ Nadir, well if they did, they too deserve the thanks..its just that i didn’t see any on the screen. as they say for the army that they die coz they are PAID for it i guess 1122 etc are there for the this very job! Army is the last resort when the govt fails in doing something, which as we always see its does all the time..this was a good time to give the soldiers a pat on the back when everyone is trying to vent their frustration against the govt’s incompetence on these poor soldiers.

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  • Ali
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:44PM

    PIA free transportation of the remains requires the coffin to be sealed, a police chalaan, a death certificate, a proof that the body was of one of the passengers…and then…5500 rupees for some emergency flight charge…there goes the elaboration of the word FREE

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  • Yasir Ahmed
    Apr 26, 2012 - 4:49AM

    @Awais:

    all commercial airplanes were made lightning proof in the late 60′s when a lot of airliners were getting struck,

    the plane had lightning protection. it was likely a microburst. there were warnings by MET department that the airport is a high risk fly zone. Plane should never have been given permission to land.

    http://www.weather.gov.hk/aviat/amte/cause/microburste.htm

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