A plane with 100 passengers aboard and a weary, intoxicated pilot at the controls skidded on touchdown, ran off into the grass, broke off one of its main landing wheel assemblies and sustained major damage.
An investigation into the Shaheen Airlines crash-landing at Pakistan’s Lahore Airport has revealed the pilot was overtired and over-the-limit.
The Shaheen Airlines plane touched down dramatically, with one of its tyres bursting in the incident on 3 November 2015. The Aviation Herald reported the plane “touched down on soft ground left of the runway, crossed a taxiway causing both main gear struts to collapse, both main gear struts separated, and the aircraft skidded on its tail to a stop on soft ground sitting on nose gear, engines and tail.”
Ten occupants received minor injuries, the site reported, as the B737 shuddered to a stop on nearby grass.
Pervez George, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: “The medical investigation reports of cockpit crew just after the incident revealed that the pilot in command had an unacceptable level of blood alcohol.”
Tests also showed the pilot of the private flight was fatigued, George told Britain’s Daily Mail.
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority has advised local airlines “to strictly ensure that their pilots maintain the highest levels of aviation standards and refrain from flying under the influence of alcohol”.
The sale of alcohol in Pakistan is banned, except to non-Muslims and non-Muslim foreigners, but drinking is not unknown among pilots.
In 2013, a Pakistan International Airlines pilot was seen to be unsteady on his feet at Leeds Bradford International Airport in Britain. Police pounced just as he was about to totter into the cockpit and fly an A310 with 156 people aboard to Islamabad. See: Police pluck drunk pilot from cockpit just before take-off.
The PIA pilot was found to be four times over the legal alcohol limit for flying a plane and was jailed for nine months in November 2013.
Written by Peter Needham