Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268
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Wreckage of Flight PK-268
|Date||28 September 1992|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain, Pilot error|
|Aircraft type||Airbus A300B4-203|
|Operator||Pakistan International Airlines|
|Flight origin||Jinnah International Airport|
|Destination||Tribhuvan International Airport|
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 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.
Flight 268 departed Karachi at 11:13 AM Pakistan Standard Time for Kathmandu. Upon contacting Nepalese air traffic control, the aircraft was cleared for an approach from the south called the Sierra approach. An aircraft cleared to use this approach was at the time directed to pass over a reporting point called "Romeo" located 41 miles south of the Kathmandu VOR (or at 41 DME) at an altitude of 15,000 feet. The aircraft was to then descend in seven steps to 5,800 feet, passing over a reporting point known as "Sierra" located at 10 DME at an altitude of 9,500 feet, before landing at Kathmandu. This approach allowed 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 2.30 pm the aircraft crashed at approximately 7,300 feet (2,200 m) into the side of the 8,250 ft (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 standardisation, and that the approach to Kathmandu Airport be changed to be less complex.
The Wilkins Memorial Trust, a UK charitable organisation that provides aid to Nepal, was established in memory of a family killed in the crash.
- List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft
- 2012 Mexico Learjet 25 crash
- American Airlines Flight 965, aircraft which also crashed into hillside while on approach
- Garuda Indonesia Flight 152, crash of an Airbus A300 that crashed into a valley on approach
- Prinair Flight 277, crashed into mountains while on approach
- UPS Airlines Flight 1354, cargo aircraft that also crashed while on approach
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- Gero, David (2000). Aviation Disasters: The World's Major Civil Airliner Crashes since 1950 (3rd ed.). Sparkford, nr. Yeovil, Somerset: Patrick Stephens (Haynes). p. 232. ISBN 9781852606022.
- McGirk, Tim; Wolmar, Christian (30 September 1992). "Hunt goes on for black box in Airbus wreckage". The Independent.
- Khaliq, Fazal (17 October 2015). "PIA memorial park in Nepal honours 1992 air crash victims". Dawn.
- "WMT" (PDF). WMT News (pdf). Autumn 2007.
- Job, Macarthur (1998). Air Disaster. 3. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd. (Australia). pp. 98–115. ISBN 1-875671-34-X.