Probing Bhoja Air crash: Air traffic controllers asked to record statements

Islamabad Police still waiting for answers to questions asked of the defence ministry.


Mudassir Raja October 05, 2012

RAWALPINDI:


The capital police have asked the air traffic controllers (ATCs) who were on duty on April 20 when a plane of a private airline crashed, to appear before investigators and record their statements, it has been learnt.


A police team headed by Islamabad Additional Inspector General (AIG) Tahir Alam wrote a letter to Pakistan Air Force and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to ask them to ensure the appearance of ATcs manning the air traffic tower on the day when Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737 crashed near Benazir Bhutto International Airport killing all 127 passengers and crew members on board.

An official in the Islamabad Police, close to the investigation, said the ATCs were supposed to testify before the inquiry team on Thursday but now they may come on Friday morning.

When contacted, Islamabad Superintendent of Police Sardar Sadaqat confirmed they had written a letter to the concerned authorities asking for testimonies of the ATCs to proceed with the inquiry.

Farooq Bhoja, one of Bhoja Air’s owners, has not obtained pre-arrest bail in the criminal case registered against his company by the Koral Police and he is yet to be arrested.

This reporter tried to contact Tahir Alam to ask about Bhoja, but the AIG was not available.

The CAA has obtained the wreckage of the plane against surety from the court after the police took the remains into custody after registering an FIR.

Meanwhile, the capital’s district administration is still waiting for the defence ministry’s response after they wrote a letter two months ago to the interior ministry asking for details of the flight.

The district magistrate had asked 15 questions including details of the crew operating the flight, passengers on board and specifications of the jet and hours of flight in the letter.

The Safety Investigation Board working under the defence ministry has been unable to proceed with
an inquiry into the causes of the air crash due to the
non-availability of its members.

Altogether, there has been little progress in the case. A report on the causes of the crash was challenged in the Islamabad High Court by the victims’ heirs.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2012.

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