Search teams in Pakistan have recovered the voice recorder from the Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 that crashed in Karachi last week. The teams found the voice recorder among the wreckage on Thursday, six days after the accident. Could the discovery provide some answers on the circumstances that caused the plane to crash?
Teams recover the black box
Pakistan International Airlines flight PK8303 came down in a residential district of the port city of Karachi last Friday. The plane, which had departed from Lahore, crashed about 1 km short of the runway near Jinnah International Airport. Only two of the 99 people on board survived.
The discovery of the cockpit voice recorder this week is a significant development in the attempt to understand why the accident occurred. The other part of the black box, the flight data recorder, was found within hours of the crash. The recorders have been handed over to French authorities who are assisting in the investigation.
Who will investigate the crash?
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) of the Government of Pakistan is tasked with investigating the crash as an independent board, a PIA spokesman said in a press release.
They have been joined by experts from the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA), Airbus and Safran Engines who arrived in Pakistan on May 26th. Together, they will work to collect evidence at the site as they try to determine what caused the country’s worst airline disaster in years.
In a crisis statement on its website on May 22nd, Airbus announced that it would be assisting in the investigation. They added that PIA and engine manufacturer CFM International would also be involved. Under international aviation rules, the investigators from the BEA have joined the investigation because the 15-year old Airbus plane was designed in France.
The aircraft first entered service in 2004 and had been in operation with Pakistan International Airlines since 2014. Airbus reported that the plane had logged around 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flight cycles. It was powered by CFM56-5B4/P engines.
The latest news on the accident
Earlier this week, we reported the latest news on the PIA accident. No further developments have been reported since that could help decipher what happened that day. The recovery of the cockpit voice recorder could change this. However, it is expected we won’t have any answers for several months.
Authorities are still trying to understand why the plane touched down and hit the runway three times before lifting up. At a press conference in Islamabad, the Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, told reporters that this was the ‘million-dollar question.’ It is hoped that the recovery of the cockpit voice recorder will help answer this question and provide some insight to everyone involved.
Previous reports on the accident have suggested that the plane had some problems with the landing gear. If this is true, then it won’t be the first time that PIA has had technical issues of this kind this year. However, the minister refused to speculate until the investigation has been completed. He added that the preliminary investigation report on the accident will be presented before parliament on June 22nd.
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