Downloading, decoding of black box of crashed Pakistani airplane complete: French investigators

Islamabad (PTI) – The downloading and decoding of the black box of the Pakistani airplane that crashed in a densely populated area last month has been completed, the French investigators have said.

The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed into the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir on May 22, minutes before its landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.

Ninety seven passengers died in the crash. Eleven people on ground were injured.

A 13-year-old girl who was injured on the ground died this week, taking the death toll in the accident to 98.

An 11-member team of experts from an Airbus facility in the French city of Toulouse arrived in Pakistan after the incident to conduct an independent probe into the crash involving its aircraft.

The French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) on Friday said in a tweet that downloading and decoding of the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR), the two components of the PK-8303 black box, has ended. Analysis will continue.

It further said that the Pakistan’s Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board (AAIB) will publish at a later date a preliminary statement on the event based on downloaded data/ Pakistan’s AAIB is leading the investigation/current communication on their behalf.

According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had already announced that the preliminary report of the plane crash would be tabled in the Parliament on June 22.

The experts team had earlier this week left for France along with the FDR and CVR of the aircraft.

AAIB President Air Commodore Usman Ghani also accompanied the French team, the report said.

The FDR records time, altitude, airspeed, heading, and aircraft attitude and other in-flight characteristics.

The CVR is a device used to record the audio environment in the flight deck for accidents and incident investigation purposes.

It records and stores the audio signals of the microphones and earphones of the pilots’ headsets and of an area microphone installed in the cockpit.

The team of foreign experts, which included Airbus company representatives and members from France, Germany, the UK and other countries, had visited the crash site and inspected the debris of the aircraft and the runaway.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a letter on June 2 to the PIA that the pilot of the crashed aircraft did not follow the instructions of the air traffic controller (ATC).

The letter said the duty approach controller had raised a non-compliance report in respect of the pilot of PK-8303. It claimed that the pilot was warned twice about his speed and high altitude for approach but he did not follow.