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.