On July 28, 2010 a tragic event took place in Islamabad when an Air Blue flight EA 202 coming from Karachi to Islamabad crashed in Margalla hills. All 152 passengers and crew members onboard the flight died. Though investigation shall reveal the exact cause of the accident and number of rumors are flying around the accident did brought into light the aviation history in Pakistan. Even article have been written about the history of aviation accidents and I came across one which perhaps painted a negative side of the history and perhaps an incorrect one. Therefore I decided to compile the history and present it to keep the record correct to the best of my knowledge. At the moment I shall refrain myself to the commercial aviation and shall compile military aviation some time later. I have also compiled the data base in two parts the part one shall list accidents till 70’s while in part two accidents till to-date shall be listed.
The first accident after independence took place on December 27, 1947 when an Air India flight en-route from Karachi to Bombay crashed shortly after takeoff from Karachi. Four crewmembers and nineteen passengers onboard the flight died and the plane was destroyed. Possible cause of the accident was that pilot lost control of plane in bad visibility and the plane a Douglas C-48C-DO (DC-3) hit the ground. The second accident took place on November 26, 1948 when a Pakistan Airways Douglas C-47A-15-DK flying from Karachi to Lahore crashed near Vehari. All five crewmember and sixteen passenger onboard the flight died. Although no official report is available but probable cause available on the net suggests low maintenance as the main reason. The accident took place on October 20, 1949 when an Air France Douglas C-54A-15-DC crash landed two miles from the Karachi airport. No fatalities figures are available and the plane was damaged beyond repair. Next accident took place on December 12, 1949 when a Pak Air Douglas C-53 (DC-3) flying from Lahore to Karachi crashed in a hill near Karachi airport. All four crew member and twenty two passenger died in the accident. The probable cause was a navigation error on the part of pilot.
The first accident during the fifties took place on March 3, 1953 when a Canadian Pacific Air Lines de Havilland DH-106 Comet 1A crashed while attempting to take off from Karachi airport. Five crewmembers and six passengers onboard the flight died. From the information available it seems to be a pilot error as the nose of the aircraft was lifted too high during takeoff resulting in a partially stalled condition and excessive drag. This prevented the plane from becoming airborne. The next accident took place on October 13, 1954 when an Orient Airways Douglas C-47-DL was force landed in the river Skardu near Skardu. The plane took off from Skardu and was going to Rawalpindi. There were three crewmembers and eight passengers onboard the flight however fatalities are unknown. The plane was written off. Another accident happened on February 25, 1956 when a Pakistan International Airlines Douglas C-47B-40-DK crashed in Lash Golath Mountain near Gilgit. The plane took off from Gilgit and was travelling towards Rawalpindi. The plane crashed in the mountains due to bad weather and poor visibility. Three crew members died and there were no passenger fatalities because pilot had decided to fly without passengers due to bad weather. Another accident took place on August 5, 1956 when a Britavia Handley Page HP.81 Hermes IVA undershoot runway eight at PAF Base Drigh road in Karachi. There were six crewmembers and sixty five passengers onboard the flight however there seems to be no fatalities. The plane was written off due to damage. The probable cause of the damage was that pilot mixed runway eight at the air force base for the runway seven on the Karachi airport where he was supposed to land. Therefore in heavy rain he undershot the runway eight. The next accident happened on November 02, 1957 when a Transportes Aéreos da India Portuguesa – TAIP Vickers 610 Viking 1B crashed into fire brigade building at the Karachi airport during the landing. The plane departed from Goa, India and was destined for Karachi, Pakistan. There were three crewmembers and twenty four passengers. No casualties were reported suggesting that all survived. Another accident took place on May 8, 1959 when a Pakistan International Airlines Vickers 815 Viscount skidded sideways on the runway at Islamabad International Airport. There were no fatalities and the plane was written off which had been delivered to the airline just four months earlier. The next accident happened on August 14, 1959 when a Pakistan International Airline’s Vickers 815 Viscount crashed at Karachi International Airport during landing. There were three crewmembers onboard and two fatalities were reported. The plane had been delivered just five months earlier and took off on a training flight at around 1648 hours. The flight was cleared for landing at around 1707 hours and while landing the plane crashed. The probable cause was that trainee captain carried out a two engine overshot at very low height and below the prescribed minimum speed.
The first accident of the sixties took place on March 22, 1961 when a Pakistan International Airline Douglas C-47A-30-DL was damaged beyond repair. No further details on fatalities or the cause of accident are available. The next accident took place on April 06, 1962 when a Kuwait Airways Avro 685 York C.1 crash landed at the Lahore Airport. The plane was flying to Kabul airport but developed an undercarriage fault and crash landed at Lahore airport. There were three crewmembers on the flight and no fatalities happened. The plane was written off. The next accident happened on July 15, 1962 when an Air India cargo plane Douglas C-47A-90-DL going from Kabul to Amritsar was attacked by a vulture near Lahore. The vulture smashed through the wind screen and killed the copilot. There were three crewmembers and one fatality. The plane suffered minor damage and was repaired. The next accident took place on March 16, 1965 when a Pakistan International Airline Douglas C-47A-1-DK took off from Peshawar airport for Chitral and crashed near Lowery Pass. There were four crewmembers and twenty two passengers onboard however, four passengers survived. Complete details of the crash are not available except that it crashed near 9000 feet Lowery Pass. The next accident took place on October 08, 1965 when a Pakistan International Airline Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 crashed while en-route from Rawalpindi to Skardu. All four crew members onboard were killed. The plane departed at 0101 GMT carrying food supplied for Skardu. However it did not climb as fast as usual and struck a ridge at an elevation of 13100 feet and gradually disintegrated. Exact details of cause of the accident are not known. Another accident happened on March 08, 1967 when a Cie Air Transport – CAT Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvair cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Karachi airport. There were six crewmembers and four fatalities were reported while seven people on ground died. The plane lost height on climb out and struck a bridge destroying Lorries and a rickshaw. Exact cause of the accident is not known. Another accident was reported on June 18, 1969 when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 707-360C suffered damage. Number of crewmember and passenger onboard is not known and neither are details as to what happened. Apparently hand grenades were thrown at the plane but this needs to be confirmed. The plane was repaired.
First accident of the seventies took place on April 07, 1970 when a Britten Norman Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander crashed while landing at Rawalpindi airport. No other details are available about the crash. Next accident happened on August 06, 1970 when a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 crashed. There were four crew and 26 passengers onboard and the plane was going from Rawalpindi to Lahore. All onboard died. The weather was bad with thunderstorm and gusty winds. Weather might have played a part in the crash as official report is not available. Next accident happened on February 2, 1971 when an Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship 100 was hijacked by the hijackers. The plane was en-route from Srinagar to Jammu. Hijackers set the plane on fire and it was destroyed. Another accident happened on December 12, 1971 when a Pakistan International Airline Fokker F-27 Friendship 100 crashed near the Iranian border. The plane was going from Karachi to Zahedan with four crew members who died in the crash. Further details are not available. Next accident took place on December 8, 1972 when a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship 600 crashed near Maidan. The plane was coming from Gilgit to Rawalpindi with four crew and twenty two passengers who all died in the crash. Exact details of the cause of crash are not known but the weather was bad and raining which might have contributed. The next crash took place on May 28, 1973 when a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 struck trees and crashed near Faisalabad airport. The plane was going to Faisalabad with six crew and thirty four passengers when it crashed some 800 meters short of the airport. There were no fatalities reported and exact cause is also not known. Next incident took place on December 01, 1974 when a Swissair McDonnell Douglas DC-8 en-route from Bombay to Karachi was hijacked. However the hijacker was taken down and there were no fatalities. Next incident was reported on July 5, 1975 when a bomb exploded under a passenger seat in Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 707-373C. The plane had arrived at Karachi airport and was standing when the bomb exploded and no fatalities are reported. The next incident happened on January 20, 1978 when a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship flying from Sukkur to Karachi with 29 people on-board was hijacked by a person. The hijacker demanded money for cancer treatment but was taken down by security personnel. No fatalities were reported. There are also reports of hijacking of a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747-282B on March 2, 1978 while flying from Islamabad to Karachi. However no further details are available other than that the hijacker was taken down. Next accident took place on December 16, 1978 when a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 suffered damage beyond repair during a test flight. There were two crewmembers and one fatality. The plane was on a test flight and probable cause of accident is the over temperature of both engines and their simultaneous failure. Next accident happened on November 26, 1979 when a Pakistan International Airline Boeing 707-340C crashed near Jeddah. The plane departed Jeddah for Karachi with eleven crew and one hundred and forty five passengers. After takeoff the flight was climbing to FL370 when a stewardess reported a fire near the aft cabin passenger door. Following a mayday call nothing more was heard from the flight and the aircraft crashed in a level rocky area at an elevation of 3000 feet and burst into flames and all on-board the flight were killed. The probable cause of start of fire was a leaking gasoline or kerosene stove carried aboard by Hajj pilgrim passengers.
This is the list of accidents in Pakistan’s aviation history till seventies. I shall compile part two and list remaining accidents till to-date.