Narrative:PIA Flight 268 departed Karachi (KHI) at 11:13 for a flight to Kathmandu (KTM). The en route portion of the flight was uneventful and the aircraft was cleared for a Sierra approach to Kathmandu runway 02. The crew were instructed to maintain 11500 feet and report at 16DME (16 miles from the VOR/DME beacon, which is located 0,6 nm short of the runway). The Kathmandu approach is very difficult, since the airport is located in an oval-shaped valley surrounded by mountains as high as 9665 feet. Runway elevation is 4313 feet amsl. The next approach fixes for PIA268 were at 13 DME (at 10500 feet), 10 DME (at 9500 feet) and 8 DME (at 8200 feet). A few seconds after reporting 10 DME, the aircraft was descending through 8200 feet- which was the altitude for 8 DME. The Airbus crashed into a steep cloud-covered hillside at approx. 7300 feet amsl., at 9,16 DME.
"The balance of evidence suggests that the primary cause of the accident was that one or both pilots consistently failed to follow the approach procedure and inadvertently adopted a profile which, at each DME fix, was one altitude step ahead and below the correct procedure. Why and how that happened could not be determined with certainty because there was no record of the crew's conversation on the flight deck.
Contributory causal factors were thought to be the inevitable complexity of the approach and the associated approach chart."
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
» Flight International 31.3-6.4.1993 (4)
» Air Safety Week 6.2.1995 (p. 5)
» Air Safety Week 5.10.92 (3/4)
» Asia Pacific Air Safety Dec. 1992 (10-12)
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 5.10.92 (36)
» Flight International 4-10.11.1992 (8)
» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/94 (#1)
Follow-up / safety actions
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Karachi International Airport to Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport as the crow flies is 1827 km (1142 miles).