PIA flight PK-308 catches fire
KARACHI: The engine of an Islamabad-bound Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight, with Members National Assembly, federal ministers, and Chief Justice of Pakistan on board caught fire during take off here on Sunday, Geo News reported.
The flight, PK-308 was on the taxiway when the fire broke out in one of its engines, sources said.
Declaring emergency, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cancelled the flight.
Rescue teams were sent in for bringing the fire under control and evacuating passengers.
Federal Minister, Maula Bux Chandio, talking exclusively to Geo News slammed PIA for its mismanagement and utter incompetence.
“Smoke billowing out of the burning engine escaped into fuselage after they opened the emergency exit hatch. It was suffocating in there. I saw many passengers, who were not feeling well at all, gasping for air”, said he.
Another Parliamentarian, Yousuf Talpur, who was also on the plane, picked apart PIA for risking passengers’ lives by using planes which should have been retired by now.
“The entry of this very aircraft we were on board is banned in Europe.” he revealed.
He said the passengers remained trapped in the plane for nearly two hours.
Secretary Production, Gul Mohammad Rind, who was also among the passengers lamented PIA officials apathy at the time of crisis.
“No PIA officer bothered to console us. They seemed so indifferent to this whole ordeal. They were pathetic” Rind told Geo News.
He also added that the doors of the plane auto-locked and they could find no way out.
“The captain also locked himself up in the cockpit”, Rind said.
Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) MNA, Shirin Arshad was reported to have fallen sick after smoke filled the passenger area.
“I could not even breathe. It was horrifying. Many sick and old passengers fainted. There was a young hear patient who almost died. Thank God it was over… before it was too late”, said she talking to Geo News.
She said the PIA senior staff was nowhere to be found.
“We were thirsty as hell. No one even offered us drinking water. Our throats were dry. We were looking for something to quench our thirst but to no avail”, she added.
Veteran bureaucrat, Roedad Khan and famed poetess Fehmida Riaz were also aboard the same flight.
Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikar Mohammad Chaudhry, according to eyewitnesses, kept his calm during the emergency, however, he did summon a senior PIA officer at the Karachi airport over the incident.
According to sources, Minister for Defence, Syed Naveed Qamar, taking prompt action, has tasked the PIA authorities with an immediate report over the incident.
National flag carrier has a history of technical issues owing to outdated and under-maintained fleet.