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PIA Flight 268

Wreckage of Flight PK-268 killing all 167 people on board
Accident summary
Date 28 September 1992
Type Controlled flight into terrain
Site Kathmandu, Nepal
Passengers 155
Crew 12
Injuries 0
Fatalities 167 (all)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Airbus A300B4-203
Operator Pakistan International Airlines
Tail number AP-BCP

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268 was an Airbus A300B4-203, registration AP-BCP, which crashed on approach to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on 28 September 1992. All 167 on board were killed.

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 Chure Hills directly south of Kathmandu (the crest of which is located just north of the Sierra reporting point) at a safe altitude.

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. Additionally, although the pilots of Flight 268 reported their aircraft's altitude accurately to air traffic control, controllers did nothing to alert them as to their inappropriate altitude until seconds before the accident. The aircraft approached the Chure Hills at an altitude insufficient to pass them and crashed into the south slope, killing all aboard.

Investigators determined that the accident had been caused mainly by pilot error. However, it was also determined that the approach plates for Kathmandu issued to PIA pilots were unclear and poorly reproduced, and that Nepalese air traffic controllers were timid and reluctant to intervene in what they saw as piloting matters such as terrain separation.

This accident occurred 59 days after Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed north of Kathmandu. This allowed the Canadian TSB officials who had traveled to Nepal to assist with the Flight 311 investigation to also work on the Flight 268 investigation concurrently, and allowed Nepalese authorities to release reports on both accidents quickly.

See also

References and external links

Coordinates: 27°31′58″N 85°17′05″E / 27.53278°N 85.28472°E / 27.53278; 85.28472



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