LAHORE – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a started probe into the Friday’s accident when a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane skidded off the runway.

Safety Investigation Board (SIB) President Air Commodore (r) Basit visited the Lahore airport and recorded the statements of the crew including pilot and copilot. The defense secretary also visited the Lahore airport.

According to the sources, pilot Faheem said in his initial statement that the plane descended quickly, touched the overrun area and rammed into a foundation of the runway constructed for arresting barrier of the PAF planes.

However, a CAA senior official said the statement could be verified after calibration of the plane.

A PIA Engineering Branch official said that it could not be asserted that length of runway was insufficient for landing of an ATR plane. He said that runway length required for the landing of ATR was 4,000-foot, whereas the length of runway of Allama Iqbal International Airport was more than 8,000-foot.

He said the rain could not be cited as a reason for the accident because the planes landed amid the downpour in South East Asian states like India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand and Malaysia. He, however, said heavy crosswind mattered in such circumstances.

The official said the most probable cause of this accident was the defective Anti Skid Braking System. Another technical officer said that in case of a thin layer of water covering runway, a plane makes hard landing at high speed and aquaplaning could take place generating frictional heat that could damage braking system.

Air Vice Marshal Mushaf Mir in an inquiry revealed that some pilots had been recruited against up to Rs4 million graft per head during the PPP previous government and former PIA managing director Ijaz Haroon was involved in the case.

Well-placed sources said had First Officer Raheel, the newly-recruited officers of the PIA, controlled the plane, it would have been a violation of Aviation Rules.  Also, authorities opened the Lahore airport runaway was opened for all sorts of flights at 7:30 pm. An officer of CAA said on anonymity said the plane had been repaired and it would be removed from the scene on Sunday (today).