Safety Investigation Board’s (SIB) investigation report has found that Shaheen Air International’s (SAI) pilot Capt Asmat Mehmood was operating a passenger aircraft in an intoxicated state.

A Karachi to Lahore flight, NL-142, escaped a major disaster during an emergency landing in Lahore on November 3, 2015 and the aircraft was badly damaged during the incident.

The flight landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport. During the landing, the pilot was not able to control the aircraft landing gear. Because of this, the windows and the right wing were damaged during the landing. Passengers remained unhurt and were evacuated via an emergency escape chute.

SIB’s report said that Capt. Asmat Mehmood (pilot in command) was under the influence of a heavy dose of alcohol and also under stress. The First Officer was cleared in this regard.

  1. According to laboratory investigation reports, the captain’s blood alcohol level was 83 gm/dl. The impairment of Central Nervous System starts at 50 mg/dl or above which may result in judgemental errors, as evident in this case.
  2. Moreover, the blood lactate level of 70 gm/dl indicates fatigue due to increased stress as the normal level ranges from 4.5 to 23 mg/dl.
  3. All the medical investigation reports in respect of First Officer are within normal limits.
  4. The blood lactate level for the First Officer was slightly higher (27 mg/dl) than the upper normal limit of 23 mg/dl which may be raised due to stress after the accident.

Due to the pilot in command being under the influence of alcohol, he was not medically fit to operate the aircraft and made grave mistakes. The accident took place due to:

  1. Cockpit crew landing the aircraft through an un-stabilized approach (high ground speed and incorrect flight path).
  2. Low sink rate of left main landing gear (LMLG) as it touched down and probable presence of (more than the specified limits) play in the linkages of shimmy damper mechanism.
  3. This situation led to torsional vibrations/breakage of shimmy damper after touchdown. The resultant torsional excitation experienced by the LMLG due to free pivoting of wheels (along vertical axis) caused collapse of LMLG.
  4. The RMLG collapsed due to overload as the aircraft moved on unprepared surface.

The SIB made several operational and technical safety recommendations and asked the Civil Aviation Authority to make necessary changes in standard operation procedure.

Shaheen Air Rebuttal

Shaheen Air International (SAI) has strongly condemned the way the investigation report is being showcased. It is clearly mentioned in the report that the main reason for mishap at Lahore International Airport was solely due to the incorrect flight path provided by the control tower to the Captain of SAI Airline where the landing gear collapsed due to overload as the aircraft moved on an unprepared surface.

The press statement further added that no alcohol is allowed or permitted at SAI whatsoever. The Captain must have drunk alcohol in his personal capacity and due action has been taken by the airline against the Captain by dismissing him.

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