Maintenance lapse caused Havelian plane crash, says initial report


KARACHI: The Safety Investigation Board (SIB) of Pakistan tasked to probe into the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash near Havilian in 2016 has pointed to a maintenance lapse as the possible cause of the incident and made some “immediate recommendations” to avoid such incidents.

The PIA plane (PK-661) with 48 people, including noted figure Junaid Jamshed, his wife and former deputy commissioner Chitral Osama Warraich on board, had crashed in Saddha Batolni village near Havelian in 2016.

The report, titled Immediate Safety Recommendations, states that the investigation into the crash is heading towards a concluding stage, however, some important findings of technical nature require immediate attention of the authorities concerned.

“Sequence of events was initiated with dislodging of one blade of Power Turbine Stage (PT-1), inside Engine No 1 (left side engine) due to fatigue. This dislodging of one blade resulted in in-flight engine shut down, and it contributed towards erratic/ abnormal behaviour of No 1 Propeller,” reads the report.

“According to a Service Bulletin” these turbines blades were to be changed after completion of 10,000 hours, on immediate next maintenance opportunity. They said engine was under maintenance on 11 Nov 2016, at that time these blades had completed 10,004 hours (due for a change). This activity should have been undertaken at that time, but it was missed out by the concerned.”

It states that the aircraft flew approximately 93 hours after the above-mentioned maintenance activity before it crashed on Dec 7.

“Missing out of such activity highlights a lapse on the part of PIAC (Maintenance and Quality Assurance) as well as a possible in-adequacy/lack of oversight by PCAA (Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority).”

The board in light of the above-mentioned observations recommended the national flag carrier to “ensure immediate implementation of the Service Bulletin in letter and spirit on the entire fleet of ATR aircrafts, undertake an audit of the related areas of maintenance practices, ascertain root cause(s) for the said lapse, and adopt appropriate corrective measures to avoid recurrence”.

“PCAA is to evaluate its oversight mechanism for its adequacy to discover lapses and intervene in a proactive manner, ascertain shortfall(s) and undertake necessary improvements.”