Probe faults pilot for Indian plane crash last year

Published September 13, 2021
In this file photo, a security official inspects the site where a passenger plane crashed when it overshot the runway at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur, in the southern state of Kerala, India. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, a security official inspects the site where a passenger plane crashed when it overshot the runway at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur, in the southern state of Kerala, India. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: A pilot’s failure to follow operating procedures led to a deadly passenger plane crash in southern India last year, an investigation by the civil aviation regulator has found.

Air India Express Flight 1344, a Boeing 737, crash-landed at Kerala state’s Kozhikode airport with 190 passengers and crew abroad in August last year.

The jet overshot the runway in a storm, plunged down a bank and was destroyed, with its fuselage breaking up.

Some 21 people, including 19 passengers and the flight’s two pilots, died in the crash. Another 75 passengers and one crew member were seriously injured, the report said.

“The probable cause of the accident was the non-adherence to standard operating procedures (SOP) by the PF (pilot flying),” the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau under India’s civil aviation ministry said in its report released on Saturday. The regulator said the pilot had “continued an unstabilised approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, halfway down the runway, in spite of ‘go around’ call by PM (pilot monitoring)”. The report added that the pilot monitoring had failed to take over the controls of the aircraft and execute a “go around”, where a landing approach is aborted.

The pilots had made two attempts to land in the fierce winds and rain before the crash. The report added that the pilot flying the jet was “highly experienced” and had operated 36 flights “in and out of Kozhikode during the last one year prior to the accident”.

“This experience probably resulted in complacency due to overconfidence that affected his decision making,” it said.

Even before the accident, critics had raised questions about potentially dangerous conditions at the airport.

Kozhikode is considered a tricky airport as it is built on a hill with a “table-top” runway with a steep drop at one end.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

The Musharraf enigma
Updated 06 Feb, 2023

The Musharraf enigma

The Musharraf era holds numerous lessons for Pakistan’s ruling elite, civilian and military.
Staying neutral
06 Feb, 2023

Staying neutral

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has what is perhaps one of the most thankless jobs in the country. The countless...
Wikipedia ban
06 Feb, 2023

Wikipedia ban

THE country was back in a familiar, dark place last week when the PTA blocked Wikipedia over the charge that it...
IMF’s firm stance
Updated 05 Feb, 2023

IMF’s firm stance

Pakistan needs to complete the review to stave off a default as well as to unlock inflows from other multilateral and bilateral lenders.
Grotesque bigotry
05 Feb, 2023

Grotesque bigotry

FREEDOM to profess one’s faith is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan. However, for the country’s Ahmadi...
Kashmir reflections
05 Feb, 2023

Kashmir reflections

ASIDE from Kashmir Day, which the nation is observing today as an official holiday, there are a number of other days...