5 of the most fatal air crashes of Pakistan

5 of the most fatal air crashes of Pakistan

The history of aviation in Pakistan dates back to independence. Orient Airways was the first airline to operate from East & West Pakistan, with hubs in Karachi & Dacca. It was the first Muslim owned airline in British Raj and was a joint venture of Adamjee, Isphani and Arag groups on behest of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In 1956, the Pakistan International Airlines formally came into being.

Orient Airways Logo.

Fatal Airline Crashes in Pakistan

Since 1947, there have been 106 air crashes in Pakistan, claiming 1500+ lives. Out of these 27 were foreign airliners/official aircrafts, 3 belonged to Pakistan Airways (Pak Air), 4 belonged to Orient Airways, 32 belonged to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Air Blue, Bhoja Air & Shaheen Air lost 1 plane each in air crashes.

Doglus DC-3 Orient Airways. Ed Coates

Here is a summary of Top 5 Pakistani Airlines fatalities;

5. AP-AMH Crash at Cairo International Airport

PIA Boeing 720, AP-AMH File Photo. BAAA
  • Date: 20 May 1965
  • Fatalities: 121
  • Crash Site: Cairo International Airport, Cairo, Egypt

This was the worst crash of its time, and 3rd worst crash of Egypt to date. PIA flight PK 705, a Boeing 720 having registration AP-AMH, was inaugural flight of PIA from Karachi to Dahran, Cairo, Geneva & London carrying 13 crew and 114 pax on board crashed on 20 May 1965 while on final approach to Cairo International Airport. The aircraft was completely destroyed. 121 people perished including whole crew. The face of PIA (at that time), Momi Gull Durrani was one of the crew members that perished.

Momi Gull Durrani, Face of PIA in 1950’s and 1960’s. History of PIA
Wreckage piece of PIA Boeing 720-040B, AP-AMH, that crashed near Cairo International Airport on May 20, 1965. Abbas Ali

Memorial of PK 705. Wikimedia Commons

4. B4-213 Crash at Islamabad

Bhoja Air Boeing 737-200, AP-BKC. BAAA
  • Date: 20 Apr 2012
  • Fatalities: 127
  • Crash Site: Islamabad Capital Territory, Islamabad, Pakistan

Bhoja Air flight B4-213 was a scheduled flight of (now defunct) Bhoja Airlines, from Karachi to Islamabad. Due to poor weather conditions, the aircraft crashed 5 miles from Runway 30 of Benazir Bhutto International Airport and disintegrated on impact. The aircraft carried 6 crew members and 121 pax. There were no survivors. This was first flight of Bhoja Air in nearly a decade. After this crash, an inquiry was launched and Bhoja Air’s licence was revoked as it was unable to fulfill Civil Aviation Authority’s guidelines.

Wreckage of Bhoja Air AP-BKC in Islamabad. AFP

3. AP-BJB Crash at Islamabad

Air Blue Airbus A321-231, AP-BJB. BAAA
  • Date: 28 Jul 2010
  • Fatalities: 152
  • Crash Site: Margalla Hills, Islamabad Capital Territory, Islamabad, Pakistan

Airblue flight ABQ-202 was a routine passenger flight between Karachi and Islamabad. The aircraft had a crew of 6 and 146 pax. While on final approach to Islamabad, the aircraft crashed into Margalla hills. There were no survivors.

Search and Rescue Operation in progress at Crash site. AFP
Margalla Hills Memorial. Flickr

2. AP-AWZ Crash at Taif, Saudi Arabia

PIA Boeing 707, AP-AWZ. W.Fishdick
  • Date: 26 Nov 1979
  • Fatalities: 156
  • Crash Site: Taif, Saudi Arabia

PIA flight, PK 740 originated from Kano, Nigeria and after a stopover at Jeddah, was enroute to Karachi, Pakistan. The Captain gave a mayday call 21 minutes after takeoff from Jeddah. This flight was carrying 111 pilgrims. Onboard fire caused crash of plane in mountains near Taif. There were no survivors. This is the 3rd deadliest crash involving a Boeing 707.

PK 740 Wreckage. Abbas Ali
Cap. Khalid Wyne, Captain of PK 740. History of PIA

1. AP-BCP Crash at Khatmandu, Nepal

PIA Airbus A300, AP-BCP. BAAA
  • Date: 28 Sep 1992
  • Fatalities: 167
  • Crash Site: Kathmandu, Bagmati Nepal

Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) is one of the most difficult airports to land as it is surrounded by mountains. PIA flight PK-268 crashed into mountains while on final approach to Tribhuvan International Airport. There were 12 crew and 155 pax on board. None survived

PIA Memorial Park in Lele, Kathmandu. Fazal Khaliq

Although Air travel has become safer over the years, yet air crash do happen. Since most of the commercial airlines are now jet liners, crash on hard surface means high mortality. The most common reasons of high mortality are in event of Air crash are;

  1. Residual fuel in aircraft
  2. High speed at time of impact
  3. Impact on hard surface

The safety standards are very strict for airlines and they spend a lot of resources on maintenance of aircrafts and training of crews. It is advisable to follow the instructions when you board the aircraft & put on the seat belt.

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Post By: Ammar Anwer

Ammar Anwer is Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Surgery and Medicine.
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