Nepal probe panel blames pilot, CAAB points at TIA control tower's mistake
_A Monitor Report 01 Feb, 2019 | 281 Views | -+
Capt Salahuddin M Rahmatullah
Dhaka : Nepal probe panel's "final" report published on January 28, blamed the captain of the US-Bangla Airlines aircraft for allegedly having "an emotional breakdown" before the crash in Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport in March last year.
However, Civil Aviation Autho-rity of Bangladesh (CAAB) said Tribhuban International Airport (TIA) control tower failed to perform their duties properly.
Capt Salahuddin M Rahmatullah, Head of Aircraft Accident Investigation Group (AAIG), CAAB is a Bangladeshi member of the Accident Investigation Commission formed by Nepal.
He said, "Had the people at Air Traffic Control (ATC) of Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport performed their duties properly, the crash could have been averted."
"Above all, there was the absence of a last-minute ATC instruction or advice for corrective action that the flight crew could have taken to avoid the accident," said Salahuddin at a press brief after the Nepalese authorities published the report.
Officials of the ATC took cover under their tables seeing the aircraft's flight path and this aspect of the incident was omitted in the final investigation report, he said during the briefing at the headquarters of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) at the capital's Kurmitola.
He said he had made six observations about the negligence of the Kathmandu ATC that were not incorporated in the final report compiled by the Nepalese officials.
Salahuddin, who led a six-member Bangladeshi team to assist the Nepalese investigation body, said he would urge the Nepalese authorities to include these aspects as appendix to the report.
"If Nepal fails to incorporate, Bangladesh will go to the International Civil Aviation Authority in this regard," he added.
There was a mistake on part of the pilot but had the ATC addressed the matter properly, then that mistake could have been corrected.
"An instant and executive advice by the ATC Controller to the pilot to discontinue landing and climb up straight ahead at the very last moment, or words to that effect, just prior to its touchdown, could have contributed positively to evade the accident," said Salahuddin in his observation.
"The ATC controllers, who had the aircraft in visual at all times, as per their admission during interrogation, did not contribute to regulate the aircraft's flight movements in the right direction" even though a local pilot judging the aircraft's manoeuvre had advised the ATC that the cockpit crew appeared disoriented.
The local pilot even advised the ATC to guide the US-Bangla plane out of the area that had poor visibility, said Salahuddin, adding that the ATC was silent and played the spectator's role when the plane was manoeuvring dangerously in the valley.
Initially, BS211 was controlled by an Over Job Training (OJT) staffer of the Tribhuvan ATC who could have noticed the plane's deviation from the path of Runway 02 and inform the aircraft, but that did not happen either, according to the Head of AAIG.
No evidence was found to ascertain if the staffer had seen the aircraft's position on short final.
He said the ATC staffer could have instructed a missed approach and go-around procedure as there was ample opportunity to do so.
Imran Asif, CEO, US-Bangla Airlines said the investigation report of the Nepalese panel was "inadequate" as the ATC's negligence had been underplayed.