KARACHI: A technical fault involving the engine of a private Cessna plane forced it to make an emergency landing in a residential area of Karachi on Friday.
The small aircraft, which has room for about four to six passengers, landed about two-and-a-half kilometres away from the airport at around 4:08pm. It touched down at Khayaban-e-Mohammadi Park, near Jinnah Square in Malir.
Some officials from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rushed to the site immediately and began an investigation on why the engine failed. Some officials inside the CAA said that the pilots had informed the control tower of the failure and sought permission before making the landing.
One of the two pilots was identified as Captain Gibran. According to unconfirmed reports, Gibran said that he had been unsuccessful in restarting the engine and that an emergency landing was the only option. The pilots were lucky that the engine failure occurred in an area where there was enough space for an emergency landing.
The private company Schon Air owns the plane. It had also dispatched some of its representatives to the landing site. They said that the plane was being used for training pilots and was on a routine trip when the mishap occurred. CAA spokesperson Pervez George told the The Express Tribune that both the pilots were safe and that the plane had not been damaged during the landing. He said that an investigation into the cause of the engine failure had been initiated and refused to speculate on the underlying cause.
The emergency landing could have been harmful as there are electricity wires around Khayaban-e-Mohammadi Park. “If the plane was a little lower, it would have collided with the wires and led to a disaster,” said one of the residents of the area.
The landing site turned into entertainment spot for Malir’s residents as scores of people gathered around the plane. A heavy contingent of police and rangers was called to the landing site and given control of the area to keep people away from the plane. A scuffle between people and the law enforcers took place when they asked the crowd to disperse. With stones, the mob also attacked the law enforcers, who retaliated by firing tear gas shells at them. Engineers and technicians kept inspecting the plane while arrangements were being made to move it from the park.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.
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