Pakistani plane crashed because pilots were talking about coronavirus

AFP

World, South Asia

An initial report by the investigation team say human error by the pilot and air traffic control led to the crash that killed 97 people

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane came down among houses on May 22 after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport, killing all but two people on board. (AP)

Islamabad: A plane crash which killed 97 people in Pakistan last month was because of human error by the pilot and air traffic control, according to an initial report into the disaster released Wednesday.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane came down among houses on May 22 after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport, killing all but two people on board.

"The pilot as well as the controller didn't follow the standard rules," the country's aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said, announcing the findings in parliament.

He said the pilots had been discussing the coronavirus pandemic as they attempted to land the Airbus A320.

"The pilot and co-pilot were not focused and throughout the conversation was about coronavirus," Khan said.

The Pakistani investigation team, which included officials from the French government and the aviation industry, analysed data and voice recorders.

The minister said the plane was "100 percent fit for flying, there was no technical fault".

The county's deadliest aviation accident in eight years came days after domestic commercial flights resumed following a two-month coronavirus lockdown.

Many passengers were on their way to spend the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr with loved ones.

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