Death of passenger on flight: What action taken against Biman captain?
Fariduzzaman, a flight operation inspector of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), had violated the rules and sat in the captain's seat on flight BG 336 of Biman that departed from Jeddah for Dhaka on January 15.
At that time, the pilot in command Captain Dildar Ahmed Tufail was resting in the bunk, leaving the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER technically unmanned. He had Irfan Ul Haq beside him who was under training and not qualified to fly the aircraft. It was Irfan's test flight.
Meanwhile, a passenger had a heart attack.
No medical emergency was declared and the plane landed in Dhaka four hours after the incident. The passenger, Kabir Ahmed, a migrant from Noakhali, was pronounced dead on arrival. Kabir's death certificate, issued by Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, shows that he was brought in dead.
Interestingly, CAAB recently proposed to send Fariduzzaman to inspect the simulator training facilities of Airbus in Singapore to pave the way for Bangladeshi pilots to receive training in the Asian country.
However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has recently rejected the CAAB proposal and asked the regulatory authority to inform the ministry of what actions have been taken against Fariduzzaman for the alleged violation of rules and asked whether an investigation has been carried out in this regard.
In reply, CAAB told the ministry that Fariduzzaman is the only resourceful person in CAAB having experience of flying Airbus.
Airbus has recently offered to sell 10 aircraft to Biman. Two Airbus 330s with 436 seats each will soon join the fleet of US-Bangla Airlines, a private airline in the country.
Captain Fariduzzaman, a veteran pilot, who has not had a valid pilot's licence in years, since he is well over the age limit of 65, was evaluating trainee Irfan from the jump seat in the cockpit.
After Kabir suffered a heart attack, the chief purser went to the cockpit to notify the captain of the emergency and get an idea about when they would be making an emergency landing and where.
The chief purser realised that the captain was resting elsewhere.
According to aviation rules, in such cases, a "medical emergency" is to be raised by the pilot, which notifies every nearby airport of a possible arrival with the need for emergency medical support.
However, Tufail did not divert or raise the alarm, confirmed civil aviation insiders looking into the event. The mandatory air safety report was also not filed after the flight.
In the absence of the captain, Fariduzzaman, who was an observer on the flight, sat in the captain's seat, which is against the standard operating procedure.
In the absence of Dildar Ahmed, Fariduzzaman landed the flight directly at the Dhaka airport without landing at any nearby airport.
Upon landing in Dhaka, it took a further 40 minutes to get Kabir out of the plane due to a lack of preparedness, since a "medical emergency" was not declared. He was still alive then.