PIA, CAA blamed for 2016 air crash near Havelian

KARACHI: On Friday, the Safety Investigation Board (SIB) tasked with a probe into the 2016 crash of a domestic flight that killed all the 47 people on board, including singer-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed, has found a ‘lapse’ on the part of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a ‘lack of oversight’ by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that may have led to the tragic incident.

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On Dec 7, 2016, PIA aircraft ATR42-500 (PK-661) en route to Islamabad from Chitral had crashed into the mountains near Havelian tehsil of Abbottabad.

“The investigation is nearing a concluding stage, however, some important findings of technical nature require immediate attention/intervention,” said the one-page preliminary report of the SIB.

Asks national flag carrier to evaluate its oversight mechanism to discover lapses, ascertain shortfalls and undertake improvements

The SIB, an independent body that comes under the aviation division, has shared its report with the CAA and PIA.

According to the service bulletin, these turbine blades were to be changed after completion of 10,000 hours (of use) on next immediate maintenance opportunity. The said engine was under maintenance on Nov 11, 2016 and at that time these blades had completed 10,004.1 hours (of use) and were due for a change. This activity should have been undertaken at that time, but it was missed out by those concerned, the SIB report said.

According to it, the aircraft flew approximately 93 hours after the said maintenance activity before it crashed.

“Missing out of such an activity highlights a lapse on the part of PIAC (maintenance and quality assurance) and a possible inadequacy/lack of oversight by the CAA,” it said.

A senior official of the CAA said that the authority would give its view on the SIB report in a few days after reviewing it.

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