Even though flight safety is the priority of the aviation authorities, but still unexpected things do happen. There have occurred many air crashes around the world involving all types of aircrafts and airlines. Still, there is no aviation authority can give 100% flight safety, mainly because of the non-human conditions and external factors, like weather or operation of an aircraft, etc. Here is a list of airline crash incidents involving Pakistan with photos and summaries of each.
1. Pak Airways Crashes
Pakistan Airways, also known as Pak Air or Pak Airways, was one of the two main airlines after Pakistan’s independence in 1947. It was formed in 1948 and was headquartered in Karachi, the capital of the country at the time. The airline saw a total of three air crashes during its operative period. The first one happened on May 10, 1948 at Basra, Iraq, but no one was killed. The second air crash happened on November 26, 1948 near Vehari, Punjab. There were 21 passengers and 5 crewmembers all of whom were killed. The crash was due to a technical error. The third crash happened on December 12, 1949 at Karachi. 26 people were killed in this.
2. PIA Flight 705 (1965)
PIA Flight 705 was a Boeing 720-040B that crashed while descending to land on Runway 34 at Cairo International Airport on May 20, 1965. The aircraft carried 112 passengers and 13 crewmembers, 119 were killed and 6 survived with injuries. There were 22 journalists on-board who were all killed. The flight took off from Quaid-e-Azam International Airport and had a stopover at Dhahran International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The accident is the worst one for a Boeing 720 till today and was the worst one for Egypt at the time. Now, it is Egypt’s second worst aviation disaster. It was the fourth time an accident occurred involving a Boeing 720.
3. PIA Flight 17 (1966)
PIA Flight 17 was an air crash that occurred on 2 February 1966 involving Sikorsky S-61 twin-engine helicopter that was scheduled for a domestic flight from Dacca to Faridpur in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The reason for the accident was of a mechanical failure due to insufficient lubrication. There were 21 passengers and 3 crewmembers, only one person survived with injuries. The survivor reported that he noticed an oil leak in the cabin. The final destination was Faridpur Heliport and at about 3.5 miles to the location a vulture hit one of the rotor blades on the left side of the helicopter.
4. PIA Flight 631 (1972)
PIA Flight 631 was an air accident of a Fokker F-27 Friendship that took off from Gilgit Airport on December 8, 1972 and had a final destination at Rawalpindi International Airport. The flight carried 22 passengers and 4 crewmembers, all of whom were killed on-board on site at Maidan. The reason for the crash was determined to be a collision with a hill near the town of Maidan during a rain storm. The aircraft broke into 3 parts and the wings and engine caught fire.
5. PIA Flight PK740 (1979)
PIA Flight PK740 was a Boeing 707-340C that crashed just after takeoff from Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia on November 26, 1979. The flight was designated to land in Karachi. The flight had 145 passengers and 11 crewmembers, all of whom were killed aboard. The cause for the crash was the plane’s cabin catching fire, the reason of which is still undetermined. Most probable reason for this is a leakage of gasoline or kerosene stove carried by some Haj pilgrim passengers. The type of crash is classified as in-flight fire.
6. PIA Flight 268 (1992)
PIA Flight 268 was an Airbus A300B4-203 that crashed on approach to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on September 28, 1992. There were 155 passengers and 12 crewmembers all of whom died in the accident. The flight took from Karachi for Kathmandu. According to the investigators of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), who assisted on the investigation of the case, the cockpit’s voice recorder had no relevant flight deck conversation, but TSB concluded that the aircraft took its seven step descent, with each step too early. Due to this early descent, the aircraft neared the Chure Hills at an altitude that made it difficult for it to pass them and ended crashed into the south slope. TSB were already working on the Thai Airways International Flight 311 crash north of Kathmandu that occurred 59 days prior to this one. The Nepalese authorities released the details of both of these crashes immediately. The reason for the crash was pilot error, but it happened because the approach plates for Kathmandu issued to PIA pilots were unclear and poorly reproduced and the Nepalese air traffic controllers did not want to intervene on what they believed was piloting matters like terrain separation.
7. PIA Flight 688 (2006)
PIA Flight 688 was a Fokker F27 that took off from Multan International Airport on July 10, 2006 and was scheduled to land in Lahore and then later in Islamabad. But it never reached its destination and crashed into a wheat field after burning into flames just ten minutes after takeoff. It also hit an electric power line before crashing. Some witnesses on the ground reported that they saw flames just as the aircraft right after it took off. The cause of the crash was due to an engine fire. There a total of 41 passengers and 4 crewmembers all of whom were killed. Amongst them were the Vice-Chancellor of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naseer Khan and internationally known Pakistani neurosurgeon Prof. Iftikhar Ali Raja.
8. Airblue Flight 202 (2010)
Airblue Flight 202 was an Airbus A321-231 that crashed on July 28, 2010 near north-east of Islamabad in the Margalla Hills. It was designated for landing at Benazir Bhutto International Airport. It took off from Jinnah International Airport at Karachi and had 146 passengers and 6 crewmembers, all of whom died in the accident. The crash is considered to be the worst air disaster in Pakistan’s aviation history. There was dense fog and heavy monsoon rain, which likely became the factors of the accident. It is the first fatal crash involving an Airbus A321. Airblue is Pakistan’s second largest airline and is privately owned having 30% share of the domestic market.
9. JS Air Beech 1900 (2010)
JS Air Beech 1900 was a crash of the flight that was from Karachi to Dadu and had 21 people onboard, which were all killed. All 17 of the passengers, including an Italian, were all employees of the multinational energy company Eni. Their destination was actually Bhit Gas field. Due to this accident, JS Air was forced by its competitors to withdraw their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) in March 2011. JS Air completely closed down their flight business on January 5, 2012. The reason for the crash is undetermined.
10. Bhoja Air Flight 213 (2012)
Bhoja Air Flight 213 was the Boeing 737-236 aircraft carrying a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Jinnah International Airport in Karachi to Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad that crashed at a village near Hussain Abad on April 20, 2012. The eyewitnesses say that as they saw the aircraft landing it was struck by lightning amidst rain and storm, and became a ball of fire in the air immediately. The site of the accident was a residential area, but no casualties were reported on the ground. It is considered to be the second deadliest accident in Pakistan’s aviation history after the Airblue Flight 202. It is the fourth deadliest accident involving the Boeing 737-200 series. There 121 passengers and 6 crewmembers all of whom were killed in the accident. This Boeing 737-236 aircraft was first flown on December 13, 1984. It was used by the British Airways for fifteen years and then Comair, a South African airline, started using it since June 1999 until late 2010. It was recently acquired by Bhoja Air from Comair in January 2012, after it remained unused for more than a year by any airline. The cockpit’s voice recorder and the flight data recorder have been recovered from the wreckage on April 21 and were both send to the United States for analysis. Farooq Bhoja, the owner of Bhoja Air has been put on the exit control list and a criminal investigation on him is being currently carried out.
(With thanks from Pakistan Insider)
Written by: Sidra Zaheer