The Fokker F27 airplane, flight PK-404, vanished a short time after it went airborne on 25th August 1989, 7:36 AM.
It took off from Gilgit airport, headed towards the airport in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The pilot made radio contact at 7:40 AM, confirming that everything was alright. That was the last time anyone heard from the cockpit.
The most probable theory is that the aircraft crashed somewhere in the Himalayas, but the fact that no traces of the wreckage were found is slightly suspicious, and wherever there is slight suspicion, conspiracy theorists have a field day.
The Search for the Lost Plane
Search teams scoured the mountains for the missing plane. Civilians as well as officials took part in the search operation accompanied by four air force helicopters, two army C-130 transport planes, and two PIA planes. The Indian air force took part in the operation on their side of the LOC.
Unfortunately, the green and white color scheme of the craft was perfect camouflage for it on the snowy and green peaks of Gilgit, thus it became highly doubtful as time passed that the airplane would ever be found.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokeswoman reported that a C-130 transport plane that crashed in the same area several years ago took eight months to find.
‘Obviously, we have less hope now but we can’t really say what happened until we find the plane,’ The spokeswoman further said there was ‘nothing to indicate foul play.’
However, there were still whispers and rumors that it had been a terrorist attack or an attack by the Indian air force. There is little merit to these rumors, however, since there are no facts present to support them.
An Accident, or Malpractice?
Recent investigations have exposed the fact that corruption is rampant in PIA, with criminal elements ranging from embezzlement and fake ticket scams to insufficient maintenance of aircraft.
Aircraft that should have been either decommissioned or required major overhaul being used for flights seems to be the norm at PIA.
In December 2016, an ATR-42 aircraft crashed due to three technical faults ending lives of all 47 people on board.
Similarly, in September 1992 a PIA aircraft crashed near Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, all 167 people on board perished.
The airline has lost more than thirty aircraft in crashes and other events, including another twenty fatal crashes.
This points towards gross negligence and management, and it is sad to see the sorry state of Pakistan’s national airline.
Every PIA plane that takes off risks the lives of its passengers and the people who run PIA are apparently at peace with the possibility that their aircraft can crash at any time and kill everyone on board.
Of course, justice has still not been provided to the victims of this disaster. The victims of malpractice and corruption, who can these people turn their eyes to, if not the government?
Subsequent governments ignored the tragedy like they ignore all other losses of life that occur due to the inadequacy of the government.
It is the people in power who practice gross negligence, and it is the common citizens who pay the price with their blood.
One truly wonders how long this cycle of pain will last? How long will the Pakistani people suffer under the yoke of seemingly democratically elected governments who fail to bring change one after another?
These questions have a very ominous answer. The patience of the people will only last for so long because people can only suffer to a certain degree before they break down and rise up against the establishment.