Another tragic air crash

THERE was another tragic air crash on Wednesday resulting in loss of 47 precious lives including preacher and famous Naat Khawan Junaid Jamshed, sending shockwaves across the country. The ill-fated PIA flight PK-661 crashed on its way from Chitral to Islamabad apparently due to some technical fault. This is a major tragedy after April 2012 when a Bhoja Boeing 737 with 130 passengers onboard crashed near Islamabad Airport.
The Government, Pakistan Army, Civil Aviation Authority, NDMA and PIA moved quickly to launch rescue operation but there were understandably no survivors as the plane engines reportedly caught fire before crash and fell in a mountainous area. One can understand the sentiments of those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident. It would, of course, be difficult for them to bear the loss and we join the nation in mourning the death of precious lives and urge the authorities concerned to take care of the bereaved families. People would long remember Junaid Jamshed, who earned fame due to his songs, Naats and devotion to religion. His song Dil Dil Pakistan became popular instantly and would always remind people about the man who loved the country and Islam. Only a detailed investigation would make it clear what caused the tragedy as according to PIA the ATR aircraft was 10-year old and in good condition. Otherwise too, ATRs have been performing satisfactorily. However, it is also a fact that in Pakistan international safety standards are seldom followed and there are also reports of lapses by some engineers in carrying out pre-flight inspections. State-of-the-art technologies are also available to help improve air safety besides physical check-up of pilots after every six months or at least a year. We hope that besides determining the cause of this particular accident the inquiry into the tragedy would also look into other aspects of the air travel including air-worthiness of aircraft and facilities for proper inspection and maintenance at smaller airports.

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