CAA gives itself clean chit in Karachi attack debacle

* Says post-mortem report is enough to prove inefficiency accusations wrong

ISLAMABAD: Ruling out any negligence on its part over the death of seven personnel of a foreign company in Karachi airport attack, Pakistan’s commercial aviation regulator has claimed that the tragedy was not the result of its delayed rescue operation.
“There is no question of delay in rescue. CAA fire tenders move immediately to extinguish fire if and when such incidents happens irrespective of the fact whether any human being is trapped or not,” the CAA said on Saturday. “That is the standard operating procedure.”
Fingers are being pointed at the CAA for allegedly showing negligence in saving the lives of the seven workers of Gerry’s Dnata Private Limited, a reputed international company that provides ground handling services to the airlines at major Pakistani airports, who were burnt alive as the cargo terminal caught fire in the terror attack.
The Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Karachi, commonly known as Jinnah Hospital, conducted the autopsy of the bodies. The CAA said the Jinnah Hospital’s post-mortem report has concluded that the deaths occurred approximately between 3:00 am to 9:00 am on June 09, 2014. The hospital received the bodies at 6:00 am on June 10, it said. “The post-mortem report confirmed that the time of deaths of the victims of terrorism was between as 24-30 hours before the time of the post-mortem. This should put to the rest the controversy in media that these tragic deaths were the result of the delayed rescue operation at the Gerry’s Dnata’s cold storage and the warehouse,” the authority said in a statement.
The fire started due to the terror attack at around 11:25 pm on Sunday, June 8, the CAA said. But it was not before June 10 that the charred bodies of the seven victims were recovered by the CAA at around 5:30 am from the Gerry’s Dnata office.
“The CAA immediately moved its fire tenders towards the sight, but they came under fire from the terrorists who were hiding in the cargo area. One CAA employee was injured and the firefighting team had to retreat.”
At around 2:00 am, the CAA said, a second team also had to retreat ‘as they too came under fire. At 3:42 am a third attempt was made, which continued fighting the fire till 5:50 pm.”
Search and rescue operation of the cold storage was attempted and completed at7:50 pm, on June 09, the CAA said. “No bodies were found inside. Because of the fire the building had collapsed and there were strong fumes of chemicals.” Apparently bailing itself out, the CAA said during the terror attack its senior management was ‘busy behind the scene in many activities for example: informing all the flights in the air that airport is closed and redirecting others to alternate airports; informing many airports from where flights were expected; evacuating passengers who were in the planes and lounges at the Jinnah Terminal, helping and assisting the security agencies.”
“All the members of the CAA management and the staff worked round the clock during and after the attack as per the SOPs for which they are fully trained.”

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