Dzhemal Tamazashvili, director of the Georgian airline Sun Way, said on Sunday that a bird strike is the likely cause for the crash of a Russian-made Il-76 cargo plane in Pakistan that killed all eight crewmembers on board and four labourers on ground. The plane crashed early on Sunday in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. The plane burst in flames shortly after a takeoff from the Karachi International Airport heading for Khartoum, Sudan, and went down in an upscale housing complex for naval officers.
“Two weeks ago, in accordance with maintenance procedures, the aircraft underwent a technical check. It was in an ideal condition while the crew had an 18-hour rest before the flight. The likely cause was the damage of the aircraft engine caused by a bird strike,” Tamazashvili said.
Tamazashvili said the plane had been leased by Sun Way and performed flights under the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) worked out jointly with NATO.
“The Il-76 plane, which carried a humanitarian cargo, fell 500 meters from the takeoff run,” he said.
Pakistani TV channels reported on Sunday that at least 12 people had been killed on the ground as a result of the plane crash. Pakistani officials, however, have not yet confirmed this information.
A spokesman for Russia’s consulate general in Karachi said that one of the crewmembers killed in the air crash was a Russian national while the other crewmembers were presumably Ukrainians.