Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that a discussion about Covid-19 between the pilots distracted them and caused the Karachi crash that took the lives of 97 people.
Khan made these remarks while presenting preliminary findings in Pakistan parliament on Wednesday, reports AP.
Referring to the cockpit voice recorder, which was later found among the debris on the ground, Khan said “The pilots had discussed the coronavirus throughout the flight, which had apparently affected their families.”
The crash took place when the plane attempted to land a second time, said Khan adding that “Air traffic control told the pilot three times that the plane was too low to land but he refused to listen, saying he would manage.”
He said ‘human error’ on the part of the pilot, the co-pilot and air traffic control caused last month’s Pakistan International Airlines crash in the port city of Karachi that killed 97 people.
Earlier, Pakistani investigators said the crash resulted from engine failure.
It also revealed previously unconfirmed details, including that the plane had made a failed attempt at landing during which its engines apparently scraped the runway, causing significant damage.
The plane went down in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport on May 22, just days after Pakistan lifted restrictions imposed over the coronavirus pandemic and resumed domestic flights ahead of the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Pakistan had been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the virus.
When flights resumed in May, every other seat on planes was left vacant to promote social distancing, including on the doomed Pakistan International Airlines flight.
There were only two survivors of the Airbus A320 crash, which was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members.
A 13-year-old girl from the neighborhood where the plane went down was critically injured and later died in a hospital.