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
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.
Volunteers 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.
A 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.
Security 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.
"The hull insurance of (the aircraft) AP-BLD 2274 is $19.7 million and the amount will go to the owner (of the plane) from whom the PIA acquired it on lease,” spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Abdullah H. Khan said.
Faisal Edhi said that because of the aggression of the victims’ relatives and pressure from political figures, the morgue administration was forced to hand over the bodies to them.
"I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn't see any people - just hear their screams," he said. Rahman said his family was still in shock.
The report states that air traffic control issued a second warning to the pilot to lower the plane's altitude. However, the pilot responded again by stating that he was satisfied and would handle the situation, saying he was ready for landing.
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