PIA resumes PK-661 flight between Islamabad, Chitral


Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) resumed its scheduled flights to and from Islamabad and Chitral on Friday, days after an ATR plane tragically crashed near Havelian on December 7.

Flight PK661 flew from Islamabad to Peshawar and then moved on to Chitral, where it landed at 1pm.

An ATR plane was used to conduct this flight which carried 48 passengers, including the flight crew.

The same ATR will take off from Chitral at 3:50pm to reach Islamabad.

A flight enquiry official talked to a news channel and confirmed that no tickets were cancelled or withdrawn in light of the December 7 plane crash.

Investigation team visits crash site:

An eight-member investigation team comprising of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Safety Investigation Board reached the crash site in Havelian.

The investigating team collected evidence from the crash site and launched an investigation.

On the other hand, the first phase of DNA test has been completed in the PIMS hospital.

The hospital administration issued authority letters to the heirs of plane crash victims.

PIA said the captain of the flight had reported losing power in one engine minutes before its plane lost contact with the control tower en route to the capital.

The airline said the plane crashed at 4:42 pm local time (1142 GMT) in the Havelian area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, about 40km (25 miles) north of Islamabad. Chitral, where the flight originated, is a popular tourist destination in Pakistan.

In a late night statement, PIA said the plane was carrying 47 people, including five crew members and 42 passengers. Earlier, the airline had said there were 48 people on board.

The airline said two Austrian citizens and one Chinese citizen, all men, had been on board. The flight manifest showed three people on board with foreign names.

The Austrian foreign minister’s spokesman later confirmed two Austrians had been killed in the crash.

Crashed ATR plane was fit to fly:

The left engine of the ill-fated PIA PK-661 plane exploded before the crash, which resultantly damaged the left wing, revealed an initial report of Civil Aviation Authority.

The plane had the capability to glide even if both engines fail. But despite this mechanism, the plane still was unable to glide and take all passengers on board to safety.

According to the report, the plane’s engine failed at a height of approximately 13, 000 feet. At that height, the plane could have glided about 15 to 25km. However, the engine after failing soon exploded and also badly damaged the left wing, leaving the aircraft unable to even glide.

The report said that the weather conditions were fine at the time of the crash and the temperature was 23 degrees centigrade.

The report further said that the data in the block box would reveal the real cause of the crash.

Sources said that the data and the black box will be sent to France for further investigation.

The sources said that the Safety Investigation Board investigating the matter will decide whether the box will be opened in Karachi or France.

PIA sources claimed that the national airliner is capable of opening, downloading and analysing data. PIA has certified specialists for it as well, sources added.

In this regard, PIA has the full support of International Safety Board (ISB), sources informed.