Complacency; Human Factors; Uncontrollable Fire- Pakistan International Airlines Flight Pk 705, Pk 268 and Pk 740



Pk 705, 19/5/1965; AP-AMH, B720-047B:

Times are UTC

Pk 705 departed  Karachi at 1800 on May 19 for Dhahran, and from there to Cairo at 2122. Approaching Cairo at 2340, the aircraft was cleared for a left-hand circuit to Runway 34. The crew reported turning final at 2345 but the aircraft kept descending and struck the ground well short of the runway at 2348. Captain A. A. Khan

The probable cause: the aircraft was carrying out a night visual approach via a circuit flown to the runway. It collided with the terrain while turning final and during alignment with the runway. It can be observed that the captain had never flown an approach to Cairo in a B 720 aircraft. He had sat in the cockpit of a foreign carrier to meet the requirement of experience to this city on another trip. It was night and the approach was over an unlit area, the source of optical illusion. I believe the captain lost speed in the turn and stalled the aircraft while steepening the bank in order to line up with the runway on final approach. This is a common mistake and can happen at any level of experience. 125 on board / 119 fatalities.


Wreckage of Pk 705 

Pakistan International Airlines Flight, Pk 268 was an Airbus A300, registration AP-BCP, which crashed on approach to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on 28 September 1992. All 167 on board were killed. It is the 100th aviation disaster with more than 100 fatalities and the deadliest aviation crash to occur on Nepalese soil.

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268


PIA Airbus A300 203B4, AP-BCP, the accident aircraft


Date 28 September 1992
Summary Controlled flight into terrain due to Pilot error, improper navigation charts and failure of GPWS
Site Kathmandu, Nepal
Aircraft type Airbus A300B4-203
Operator Pakistan International Airlines
Registration AP-BCP
Flight origin Jinnah International Airport
Destination Tribhuvan International Airport
Passengers 155
Crew 12
Fatalities 167 (all)
Survivors 0


Pk 268 departed Karachi at 0613 UTC for Kathmandu. Nepalese air traffic control, cleared the aircraft for an approach from the south called the Sierra instrument approach for runway 02. An aircraft cleared for this approach was directed to pass over a reporting point Romeo located 41 miles south of the Kathmandu VOR (at 41 DME) at an altitude of 15,000 feet above sea level.  The aircraft was then to descend in seven steps to 5,800 feet above sea level, passing over a reporting point Sierra located at 10 DME at an altitude of 9,500 feet above sea level, before landing at Kathmandu. This approach allowed the aircraft to pass over the Mahabharat Range directly south of Kathmandu (the crest of which is located just north of the Sierra reporting point) at a safe altitude.

Shortly after reporting at 10 DME, at 0930 the aircraft crashed at approximately 7,300 feet above sea level (2,200 m) into the side of the elevation 8,250 ft above sea level (2,524 m) mountain at Bhatti Danda, disintegrating on impact, instantly killing all aboard; the tail fin separated and fell into the forest at the base of the mountainside.

This accident occurred 59 days after Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed north of Kathmandu


Although no pertinent flight deck conversation was recovered from Flight 268’s cockpit voice recorder by investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), which assisted with the investigation, data recovered from the flight data recorder by the TSB showed that the aircraft initiated each step of its descent one step too early. At 16 DME the aircraft was a full 1,000 feet below its cleared altitude; at 10 DME (the Sierra reporting point) it was 1,300 feet below its cleared altitude. The aircraft approached the Mahabharat Range at an insufficient altitude and crashed into the south slope. Although the pilots of Flight 268 reported their aircraft’s altitude accurately to air traffic control, controllers did nothing to alert them of their inappropriate altitude until seconds before the accident.

Investigators determined that the accident had been caused mainly by pilot error. Visibility was poor due to overcast, and the ground proximity warning would not have been triggered in time because of the steep terrain. The approach plates for Kathmandu issued to PIA pilots were also determined to be unclear, and Nepalese air traffic controllers were judged timid and reluctant to intervene in what they saw as piloting matters such as terrain separation. The report recommended that ICAO review navigational charts and encourage their standardization, and that the approach to Kathmandu Airport be changed to be less complex.

The Pilots used the Current Jeppesen High and Low Level Avigation Route Maps and Approach Charts for Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport. Captain Iftikhar Janjua was not happy to go to Kathmandu. He was a route check pilot on the A300 aircraft and his reluctance to operate to Kathmandu was remarked by the Pilots’ Association prior to the flight. The Pilot and copilot were not on the best of terms–Mohammad Syed Husain

28/9/1992; Airbus A300 B4-203; AP-BCP: the aircraft departed Karachi at 0613 for Kathmandu. It was cleared for the sierra instrument approach to runway 02 at Kathmandu. The crew was to maintain 11500 feet ASL, and report at 16 DME (16 miles from the VOR/DME beacon, which is located 0.8 mile short of the runway). The Kathmandu airport is located in an oval-shaped valley surrounded by mountains as high as 9,665 ft. Runway elevation is 4313 feet ASL. The descent procedure called for crossing mileage reporting points at specified altitudes; 13 DME at 10500 feet, followed by 10 DME at 9500 feet and 8 DME at 8200 feet. The aircraft after reporting 10 DME, descended to 8200 feet before the 8 DME fix colliding with terrain. The Airbus crashed into a steep cloud-covered hillside at approximately 7300 feet ASL, at 9.16 DME. The sharp gashes in the leading edges of fin and starboard stabilizer attest to the violence of the disintegrating aircraft’s passage through the dense canopy of the hillside jungle. There were a total of 167 on board, none survived. Captain had earlier expressed apprehension of flying to this airport and had broken some runway lights while trying to stop the aircraft on an earlier trip. Captain Iftekhar Janjua; Flight Engineer Ashraf.


AP-BCP after crashing into Fan Marker Hill 9 nautical miles short of runway


PIA paid for and maintains the Lele PIA Memorial Park at Lele, at the foot of the mountain where the crash occurred.

The Wilkins Memorial Trust, a UK charitable organization that provides aid to Nepal, was established in memory of a family killed in the crash

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 740 was a Hajj pilgrimage flight from Jeddah to Karachi. The aircraft (AP-AWZ) had earlier operated with a different set of crew that day as a Saudia flight, SV152/153 on sector Jeddah -Kano – Jeddah.


A PIA Boeing 707-340C, similar to the crashed aircraft

Date 26 November 1979
Summary In-flight fire (source of fire’s ignition undetermined)
Site Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Aircraft type Boeing 707-340C
Operator Pakistan International Airlines
Registration AP-AWZ
Passengers 145
Crew 11
Fatalities 156 (all)
Injuries 0
Survivors 0

On 26 November 1979, Pk 740, a B707-340C, operated by Pakistan International Airlines, serving the route crashed shortly after takeoff from Jeddah International Airport. All 156 people on board were killed. The first warning of an emergency came 21 minutes after takeoff, when the pilot radioed a request to return to Jeddah because smoke was coming into the cabin and cockpit. 15 minutes later, Jeddah control tower heard the pilot shout “Mayday! Mayday!” before the radio went silent. An in-flight fire in the cabin area, through its intensity and rapid extension, eventually incapacitated the flight crew. The cause of the cabin fire was not determined.

The accident remains, to date, the third-deadliest crash on Saudi Arabian soil and the third-deadliest crash involving a Boeing 707.

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