Friday saw yet another miserable incident that will haunt the Pakistani history for years to come. An Islamabad-bound Bhoja airline flight B4-213, carrying 127 passengers, crashed in the Hussainabad area of Rawalpindi.
Many questions have been raised since the Bhoja aircraft B4-213 crashed in Rawalpindi on Friday. Questions regarding the aircraft’s life, the incompetency of our authorities and the weather conditions have predominantly been brought into the limelight.
The authorities have repeatedly claimed that the aircraft was hit by some sort of lightening as there was a hail and thunderstorm over the city at the time the plane got crashed. The Civil Air Authorities have supported this argument by claiming that the plane was locked into the instrument landing system, an approach system that provides precision guidance for aircraft, when it suddenly dropped from 2,900 feet to 2,000 feet. But they cannot deny the fact that the aircraft was approximately 32 years old.
Crash investigators claim that 32 years are not especially old for an aircraft and age by itself is not an important factor in crashes but the questionable issue that rises is that the plane had been rejected by Shaheen Airline and was subsequently purchased by Bhoja airline for the flight after getting it checked from South Africa. Was it really necessary to buy a rejected aircraft? Is money more significant than the lives of people? Well in this case it seems that Bhoja airline preferred money over people’s lives.
The second issue that has highly circulated amid the crash is that the pilot was instructed to land his flight at the Lahore airport, an alternate landing area, as the weather conditions were not appropriate for landing. But the pilot, in order to save the fuel, went on with his landing stance and eventually ended up crashing the flight. Reports have also suggested that the plane crash could be be avoided f the pilot had turned around the plane a midst adverse weather conditions within Islamabad.
Captain (R) Zubairi also added that the crew of B4-213 must have had noticed the storm ahead, but decided to proceed through it any way, resulting in the aircraft getting caught in a microburst. The retired captain was of the opinion that the microburst led the aircraft to lose 800-900 feet of altitude within 2-3 seconds before it crashed into the residential area.
There are numerous rumors that suggest that the Bhoja airline authorities have always been keen to save fuel costs. This may be attributed to their low cost structure. But is the low ticket, a commuting fee or is it a payment paid by the traveler for his own death?
The Weather issue has been the answer from majority of the authorities with respect to the crash but there are reports that conclude that CAA had been given dual warnings with respect to the weather situation prior to the crash. According to the Director General of the Meteorological Department, two warnings had been issued to the CAA with the first one being issued at 3:00 PM and the second one at 6:00 PM. Was it not the responsibility of the concerned authorities to deter the landing in Islamabad. I reckon it to be the in competency of the Civil Aviation Authority.
The local media’s role in this entire scenario has been questionable with respect to their broadcasting. I was astonished to witness glimpses of detached limbs and dead bodies of the unfortunate victims on a few television channels. Local television channels have started a battle to gain increased Target Point Ratings (TRPs) at the expense of the grievance and the tears of all those who have lost their loved ones to the ill-fated crash. The local media has in fact thrashed the mourning liberty of all the affected people.
With the “black box” recovered and the investigation underway, no firm answer has yet been provided. But even if the questions get answered, will that be enough to console them who have lost their loved ones to this dreadful incident? Will this comfort those parents who would have to witness the detached and burnt body parts of their children? Would the investigation help in the upbringing of those children who have lost their parents to the terrible crash? Probably not, this appalling incident has not only taken 127 lives, in fact it has affected the lives of all those who were a part of them.