Airblue crash probe report vexes victims’ families


The families of the victims of the Airblue crash have rejected the investigation report of the incident. They are going to challenge it in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in the next hearing due on January 19.
The families have demanded the authorities concerned to release the DNA report of the victims. They have also demanded that an independent body, answerable only to the parliament, head the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). They said that the body should only comprise aviation experts – not retired officers from the CAA, Pakistan International Airlines or Pakistan Air Force (PAF) – and judges of the Supreme Court to ensure the authority’s efficiency. Airblue Crash Affectees Group Convener Junaid Hamid said that the group has rejected the appalling investigation report of the Airblue crash that the CAA had submitted in the PHC, because the report is nothing but a gimmick.
Hamid demanded a judicial investigation of the incident, and said that the group would also challenge the report in the international courts. “We have already sent copies of the report to our international aviation lawyers for review,” he added.
He said, “The release of the investigation report is considered to be a landmark, because for the first time in the 64-year history of the country, the CAA has released an investigation report of an accident.”
Hamid said that there is no sign of ownership in the report, as the whole blame was put on the pilot, ignoring the fact that there might be a technical error in the equipment, for which Airblue and Honeywell International are to be held responsible.
“We have come to know that one of the members of the investigation team had written a note of dissent on the report, but that note has not been included in the report when it was submitted in the court,” he added.
He said that no forensic test of any equipment was conducted by the investigation team and it is very evident that the report was put together only to blame the pilot for the incident.
“We demand that the authority share with the court the report of Airblue’s hull insurance, because the airline has amassed hundreds of millions of rupees in terms of insurance and also recently bought three new aircraft,” he added.
Hamid said, “The report is full of contradictions. The Islamabad International Report is jointly managed by the CAA and PAF, so it is quite clear that the latter’s involvement is being held, because the key role played by the air traffic control system in the incident is under the aegis of the air force.”
Aviation lawyer Shah Murad said that a strong legal system is required for aircraft accident investigations, and the current legal regime governing the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents in Pakistan needs to be improved in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices. Murad said that it is necessary to enact a reliable, unified and stronger regulatory framework for conducting the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents to ensure transparency in the entire process.
He said, “Following an aircraft accident, the investigator’s role is to identify facts, conditions and circumstances. Once it has been determined what happened, the scenario should also be tested and proved. However, the Airblue investigation report lacks both.”
He also said that the ICAO Human Factors Training Manual stresses the fact that humans do not act alone, but are part of larger, more complex system, and that when a catastrophe has occurred, the investigator must ensure that all the elements of the system are investigated when determining why the accident took place.
The manual specifically states that the investigation of human factors in aircraft accidents and incidents should form an integral part of the entire investigation and the resultant report, he added.
Murad said, “Every accident has evidence. If correctly identified, it will allow the cause to be ascertained so that corrective action can be taken to prevent further accidents. Following the aircraft accident of the Airblue aircraft, the CAA did not take reasonable measures to protect the wreckage of the plane and its contents at the crash site. The crash site was not declared a ‘crime scene’. Consequently, several people participated in the rescue operations, without adopting standard procedure, which resulted in a loss of vital evidences.”
He said that the Standard 3.2 of ICAO Annex 13 (Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation) requires that the state of occurrence shall take all reasonable measures to protect the evidence and to maintain safe custody of the aircraft and its contents for the purposes of an investigation.
He also said, “Protection of evidence shall include the preservation, by photographic or other means, of any evidence that might be removed, effaced, lost or destroyed. Safe custody shall include protection against further damage, access by unauthorised persons, pilfering and deterioration.”
However, he added, the victim’s family members still have the right to pursue the court for a judicial investigation that goes several steps beyond the technical investigation and utilises other tests to evaluate the results of the investigative process for criminal and civil liability on the parties concerned that have been at fault.
It is pertinent to mention here that the CAA had finalised the Airblue crash as a case of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), in which the aircrew failed to display superior judgment and professional skills in a self-created, unsafe environment. CFIT means an accident in which an airworthy aircraft under the control of pilots is flown unintentionally into terrain.
According to statistics of Boeing, it is the world’s second leading cause of commercial aircrafts’ fatalities. From 1959 to 2009 in 961 commercial aviation accidents, 5,001 people have lost their lives.


  1. What does is matter?!! In the end .. Lives were ruined! Inlaws ate up the widows and the orphans.. Instead of fighting for the dead try rescuing the ones left behind.. My inlaws proclaimed that my husband had no children.. I was pregnant then.. How about done one get those who are just trying to mint money from this tragedy that ruined my marriage of just 8 months!

  2. Airblue crash as a case of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), true. Maybe the next step in investigation would be to examine the Airblue pilot hiring policy. Also it is interesting to know how the company evaluetes the CRM-skils of their pilots. One meaning of the CRM (crew resource management) is that the pilots work together in harmony.

  3. @Widow:
    dear behen… i cannot remove your pain but i can truly help you to minimize it if you allow me to. I am sure u r aware of the AirtBlue Crash Affectees Group and we have resolved to help the affected families in every which way we can InShaAllah.
    Personal 3rd party intervention sometimes help in solving the problems or if need be, we have contacts with leading lawyers of this country who are ready to help the families who need help in any manner free of cost…
    We can collectively fight injustice of any form and manifestation only if we understand our rights and have the courage to stand up for it.
    Pl call me at our ACAG secretariat in Karachi on 021-3531 3188
    Sharing your pain.
    Junaid Hamid

  4. i.Report failed to find / justify actions on the part of controllers
    during last three crucial minutes of accident

    ii.Pertinent information about ATC controllers ( both approach and tower ) such as license numbers, validity of rating and medical fatnesses is missing.
    iii.No mention of the organizational faults of Air Blue. Why the Captain attitude was not checked before this flight. How was the behavior of Captain in the past?.Was any line safety audit was incorporated .Was there any grouping among airlines staff.

    iv.Conclusion that Captain collided with the hill ?.

    v.The time has come to envisage developing CAA’s own professionals /human resource instead of borrowing from other organizations. A separate ministry of CAA must be established.

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