PIA Pilot Kept Repeating ‘Mayday’ Before Crash, What Mayday Means & Why It's Used For Emergency?

Bhavna Acharya |May 23, 2020

The PIA pilot keeps repeating the word 'mayday' before the crash. Find out the real meaning of 'mayday' and how to use it in case of an emergency!

‘Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, Pakistan 830… 3’, that’s the very last words of the Pakistan International Airlines PIA pilot before his 8303 Pakistan plane crash due to engine loss. More than 100 people were reportedly killed and the government is working to find out their identity. The tragic accident happened only one day after the Pakistan government allowed domestic flights to resume after the coronavirus lockdown in the country. 

PIA pilot mayday
The pilot in Pakistan plane crash kept repeating 'mayday' before his airplane crushing into the ground

According to the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) of Karachi airport, before Airbus A320 aircraft crushing, the pilot informed them that both of the plane engine didn’t work. Here are the full conversation between the PIA pilot and the ATC officer:

ATC: 8303, Approach.

Pilot: Ji, sir.

ATC: Appear to be turning left.

Pilot: We are proceeding direct, sir, we have lost engine.

ATC: Confirm you are carrying out belly landing?

ATC: Runway available to land at two-five. (runway identifier)

Pilot: Roger.Pilot: Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, Pakistan 830… 3.

ATC: Pakistan 8303, roger sir, both runways available to land .

Check out the full conversation between PIA pilot and ATC staff in the following video:

The meaning of Mayday

It can be seen that the pilot in the Pakistan plane crash case keeps repeating ‘mayday’ to inform the life-threatening emergency. In fact, mayday is an international term that indicates the distress and dangerous situation in radio calls.

Mayday Call 2

The use of Mayday for emergency

In fact, the term ‘Mayday’ is widely used by mariners and aviators internationally. In some countries, it is also popular among police and firefighters. To emphasize the case of emergency and make sure the others do not mistake the signal, pilots and mariners need to repeat the word three times (mayday, mayday, mayday). 

Mayday Call

History of Mayday

The word ‘mayday’ was first used in 1921 when a radio officer in London was asked to create a word that could be used in distress and emergency cases among pilots and ground officers. ‘Mayday’ was indeed originated from French m'aider ('help me') and has no connection to May Day (holiday). 

Hoping that this article is helpful for you to understand why the Pakistan plane crash pilot uses the term mayday and know how to use this distress signal in case of an emergency. However, please note making a fake emergency call is an act of crime that could be punished or imprisoned.

>>> Read more on Starbiz: [In Pictures] Mass Graves In Brazil Give GooseBumps, But ‘Worst Is Yet To Come’


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