Pakistan plane crash death toll hits 97, black box found: Authorities

KARACHI – The flight data recorder of the Pakistani plane that crashed in a residential area of ​​Karachi was found, an official said Saturday, when the death toll rose to 97.

There were two survivors on the plane, while no fatalities were reported in the densely populated part of the city where the plane crashed on Friday.

Flight PK 8303 of Pakistan International Airlines, an Airbus A320, flew from Lahore to Karachi with 99 people on board when it crashed in the middle of the afternoon during a second landing attempt.

“The black box was found late yesterday, we will hand it over to the Commission of Inquiry,” said PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan. He said this included both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

The airline’s CEO, Arshad Malik, said on Friday that the pilot’s last message indicated that there was a technical problem.

Another senior civil aviation official told Reuters that it appeared that the plane could not have lowered its landing gear before the first approach.

Aviation safety experts say that plane accidents usually have multiple causes.

Mother (2L) of Anam Maqsood, flight attendant victim of a plane crash, mourns with other family members in Lahore on May 23, 2020, the day after a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed in a residential area in Karachi.

ARIF ALI /

AFP via Getty Images

Seconds before the crash, the pilot told air traffic controllers that he had lost power from both engines, according to a recording on liveatc.net, a respected aviation monitoring website.

Airbus said the jet first flew in 2004 and was equipped with engines built by CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and Safran in France.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced an investigation shortly after the crash, and a four-member team was formed on Friday evening, according to a report from the government’s aviation department, seen by Reuters.

The team consists of three members of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board and one of the Security Council of the Pakistan Air Force. The team will issue a preliminary statement within a month, the report says.

Pakistan plane crash death toll hits 97, black box found: Authorities

Army troops carry the casket of crash victim Major Shaheryar Baloch, who died with his wife and two children at their funeral the day after a Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed in a residential area in Karachi on May 23, 2020.

RIZWAN TABASSUM /

AFP via Getty Images

A statement from the office of the provincial health minister on Saturday estimated the death toll at 97, with no confirmed deaths on the ground.

Army and civilian personnel cleared the rubble in the Karachi district on Saturday and helped residents whose homes had been damaged.

“Rescue Op is being carried out … 25 affected homes have been cleared, their residents have been taken to various places with the help of civil administration,” the military said on Twitter.

Pakistan only resumed domestic flights last week that it had suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people traveling for Eid al-Fitr’s Islamic holiday are expected to fall in the country on Sunday or Monday.

Friday’s crash is the worst plane crash in Pakistan since 2012, when a Bhoja Air passenger plane, a Boeing 737, crashed in Islamabad, killing 127 people.

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