REPORT: Deadly Pakistan Plane Crash Occurred Due To Pilot’s ‘Human Error,’ Being Distracted By COVID-19 Fears

(ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicholas Elias Contributor
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Investigation into a deadly plane crash in Pakistan on May 22 reportedly shows that pilots were distracted by a conversation about the coronavirus pandemic and landed with the plane’s wheels still up.

“The pilot and co-pilot were not focused and throughout they were having a conversation about corona,” Pakistan’s aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told parliament Wednesday, per the Guardian. “The virus was on their minds. Their families were affected and they were having a discussion about it.” (RELATED: ‘We Live In A Cage’: Gangs Of Monkeys Take Over City In Thailand)

Following the failure of both engines, 98 people died when the Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed into a residential area, per the Guardian. All but two people aboard the plane died, as well as a child who was on the ground at the time.

Investigators determined that the plane was more than twice the correct altitude when it attempted to make its first landing attempt, according to the Guardian. Air traffic control told the plane to circle around for another more gradual landing, but the pilots decided to land anyway despite the landing gear not being prepared.

The plane’s engines hit the tarmac and were badly damaged, but air traffic control did not inform the pilots of the damage, reported the Guardian.

“Unfortunately the pilot was overconfident,” said Khan. Air traffic control told the pilots that the plane was too low, but the pilot responded saying he would “manage,” according to the AP.

Khan also stated that a probe last year found that 262 of the 860 pilots active in Pakistan have fake pilots licenses or cheated on their exams, per the Guardian.

Following Khan’s statements, Pakistan International Airlines grounded 150 pilots Thursday and accused them of obtaining licenses and having others take exams for them, per the Associated Press

“We will make it sure that such unqualified pilots never fly aircraft again,” spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines Abdullah Hafeez told the Associated Press.