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Investigators: Pilots and controllers at fault in PK8302 crash

Crews search the debris of a Pakistan International Airlines jetliner after it crashed in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 22. An early investigative report Wednesday faulted both the pilots and ground controllers. File Photo by Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE
Crews search the debris of a Pakistan International Airlines jetliner after it crashed in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 22. An early investigative report Wednesday faulted both the pilots and ground controllers. File Photo by Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE

June 24 (UPI) -- A plane crash in Pakistan last month that killed nearly 100 people was largely the result of human error in both the cockpit and the control tower, investigators said Wednesday.

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8302 crashed near Karachi on May 22 and killed 97 people.

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Pakistani Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told lawmakers Wednesday there were no noticeable malfunctions with the aircraft. A preliminary report said the pilots' first attempt to land damaged both engines because the plane's landing gear was not down.

Pilots aborted the first attempt and circled around for another. But before the airliner could make it back to the runway, investigators said, both engines failed and the plane crashed.

Khan said ground controllers never told the pilots about the damaged engines. Investigators aren't yet sure why the landing gear was retracted on the first landing attempt.

Investigators also said the pilots had been distracted about something related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The pilots and the air traffic controllers both did not follow the protocol," Khan said. "The pilot ignored the instructions of the air traffic controllers.

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"The fault was at both ends."

Two passengers survived the crash -- Bank of Punjab CEO Zafar Masood and engineer Mohammad Zubair. The crash also damaged more than two dozen homes near the airport in Karachi.

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