Crashed Pakistani passenger jet's cockpit voice recorder found - GulfToday

Crashed Pakistani passenger jet's cockpit voice recorder found


Trade union and civil society activists light candles in Karachi on Thursday, during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the PIA plane crash on May 22. AFP

Investigators scouring the site of a crashed Pakistani airliner found the jet's cockpit voice recorder on Thursday and hope it will answer why pilots had failed at an initial landing attempt.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane came down among houses on May 22 after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport, killing 97 people on board. Two passengers survived.

PIAEngine-750x450Volunteers look for survivors of a plane that crashed in a residential area of Karachi. AFP

Investigators found the plane's black box flight recorder two days after the crash. Pakistan's Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said a French-led investigation team would analyse the Airbus A320's recorders.

"We have found the voice recorder and data (black box) recorder, and the French authorities will take them with them," Khan told a press conference.

Questions are swirling over the ill-fated Flight 8303, during which the pilot made an initial landing attempt when the plane briefly made contact with the ground multiple times, before going around for a second attempt.

"It is a million-dollar question as to why the pilot chose to fly back after touching the ground," Sarwar Khan said.

PIAdebris-750x450A worker walks past a truck loaded with the wreckage of the crashed PIA plane in Karachi. Reuters

Sarwar told reporters the plane's engines touched the ground three times on the first attempt at landing. "The pilot never announced his landing gear wasn't opening. He haphazardly touched the engines thrice with the ground," Sarwar said.

"All marks are present (on the runway). He was not at the proper height... Control tower informed him you aren't at the required height, lower your altitude," he said, adding that the pilot replied: "I will manage." Sarwar did not say how he knew the details of the conversation.

Experts have raised the possibility pilots had initially tried to land the Airbus without first lowering the wheels.

PIA previously said that air traffic control lost contact with the plane, which was travelling from Lahore, just after the pilot made a desperate mayday call following the failed initial landing attempt.

KarachidamagedhomeSecurity officers and wolunteers look for survivors of a plane that crashed in a residential area of Karachi. AFP

In that call, he can be heard announcing "we have lost engines," according to an audio recording confirmed by the airline.

On board the aircraft were 91 passengers, six cabin crew and two pilots. There were no fatalities on the ground.

A preliminary crash report was expected to be made public on June 22 in a parliamentary session, Sarwaqr Khan said.

He added that 12 to 15 houses had been badly damaged in the crash, and that the government would compensate residents for property losses.

Pakistan has a chequered military and civilian aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.

Agence France-Presse

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