Airbus experts visit PIA plane crash site in Karachi as probe opens

Updated May 26 2020

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Airbus experts arrive at Karachi airport for the PIA plane crash probe. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan
Airbus experts arrive at Karachi airport for the PIA plane crash probe. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan

Airbus experts on Tuesday initiated a probe into last week's plane crash that killed 97 people when a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A-320 went down in a crowded neighbourhood near Karachi airport.

Initial reports suggest the jet crashed after an apparent engine failure.

Aviation authorities said on Tuesday they have shared their initial findings with the visiting 11-member team from the European plane maker.

The Airbus experts and engineers also visited the crash site of flight PK-8303, where they were given a briefing by officials of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board, Radio Pakistan reported.

Related: Question mark over body constituted to probe PIA crash

"We are providing all possible assistance to the technical experts of Airbus," said Abdul Hafeez, a spokesperson for PIA.

Only two people on board survived the crash, including Zafar Masood, a bank executive.

The flight took off from Lahore and crashed on Friday while trying to land at Jinnah International Airport.

The plane made failed attempts to land at the Karachi airport before the crash. Authorities found the plane's black box and have been guarding the crash site to facilitate the probe.

On the ground, 18 homes were damaged but no one was killed, mainly because the local residents were gathered at nearby mosques at the time, officials had said. Eight people on the ground were injured.

So far, authorities have handed over 41 bodies to their families, Hafeez said, adding that DNA tests were underway to identify the remains of the other victims.

The plane last received a government check last November. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28, confirming all maintenance had been conducted. -Airbus has said the two-engine plane had logged 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flights as of last Friday.

The crash took place days after the government allowed resumption of domestic flights ahead of Eidul Fitr. Many of the passengers aboard the flight were families returning home for the holiday.

Pakistan has been in a countrywide partial lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus, and when flights resumed last week, every other seat was left vacant to ensure social distancing.