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ATR aircraft are 'very safe': Experts

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The PIA flight PK-661 that crashed on Wednesday was an ATR-42, which was “nearly 10 years old” and in “good condition,” stated the PIA spokesman Daniyal Gilani.
While the plane reportedly crashed due to ‘engine problems’, “No body knows what may have happened,” Captain Riffat Saeed of the PIA stressed.
“PIA has been flying ATRs for a very long time and these aircraft are very safe,” he added.
Mr Saeed told Dawn.com that the “pilots were well trained” and that “PIA has got top ratings in engineering”. “We don’t know if the plane was climbing, cruising [or] descending.”
“Let the Civil Aviation [Authority] find out what may have occurred,” he added.
Air Marshall (R) Shahid Latif agreed: “It remains to be seen if this was a technical fault,” he told Express.
“In Pakistan, there is a big question regarding whether international safety standards are followed when it comes to aircraft."
"Did the pilot make a detailed call to explain what happened? We do not have this information at this point."
He added: "In an emergency landing, a plane is supposed to land at the nearest place. Perhaps they did not have this choice... perhaps the plane was not in good flying condition. If the pilot is not able to sustain the flight of the plane then a crash is inevitable."
"The technical crew can diagnose a problem remotely but they cannot fix the issue till the aircraft lands."
"Unfortunately, if an engine develops a fault mid-flight then tragedies like these take place."
He also said Pakistan bought the ATRs some time ago. "We had smaller planes which were discontinued and got the ATR instead. They have been flying and there have no problems as such."
A flight instructor Raas Masood opined that, “it is a mountainous area and there could be multiple reasons [for the crash]”. He further added that visibility can be a factor, “it is a low visibility area”.
“ATRs have a very safe track record,” he reiterated, “and they usually fly short operations from point A to point B.”
“The investigation will prove more results. We cannot rule anything out right now.”
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