Cockpit voice recorder of crashed PIA plane yet to be found

Updated 27 May 2020

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Father of slain pilot says he trusts no probe body, only Imran Khan.
— AFP
Father of slain pilot says he trusts no probe body, only Imran Khan. — AFP

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Tuesday that the black box of Airbus 320 that crashed in Karachi had been found within 24 hours, but efforts were under way to recover the cockpit voice recorder.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane, with 99 people on board, crashed in Model Colony near Jinnah International Airport in Karachi last Friday, killing 97 (89 passengers and eight crew members). Two passengers miraculously survived.

In a news release, the minister said soon after the plane crash the departments concerned were directed to recover the bodies with the help of residents of the area within 24 hours and this difficult task was completed within time.

“The black box of the plane had been recovered and handed over to the probe team to initiate speedy investigation, while efforts are under way to recover the cockpit voice recorder which will also be handed over to the investigation team,” he added.

Father of slain pilot says he trusts no probe body, only Imran Khan

He said the PIA and Civil Aviation Authority had been issued instructions to review the professional training, qualification and progress of pilots, engineers and professional training of all sectors associated with the aviation sector and submit to the government a report containing recommendations to improve the quality of work.

Pilot’s father demands ‘fair’ probe

The father of Captain Sajjad Gul, the pilot of the ill-fated PIA aircraft, has said that his son was a “thorough professional” and demanded a fair probe.

Upset over speculation, especially on social media holding Capt Gul responsible for the plane crash, Gul Muhammad Bhatti said: “It is sad that the PIA’s top hierarchy is getting Twitter reports leaked [blaming my son]. We have no trust in the inquiry committee but Prime Minister Imran Khan. Yesterday, Sajjad Gul was called our national hero and today….”

Mr Bhatti was talking to reporters after Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar called on him at his residence in Defence on Monday.

Capt Gul, he said, was the only pilot in the PIA who had completed 17,000 flying hours and last year he completed 1,000 hours.

“His competence cannot be questioned as even when he was facing death he remained calm and told the control tower that one of the engines was troubling and landing gear was not working,” he said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister retired Brigadier Ijaz Shah called on Mr Bhatti on Tuesday and assured him of a transparent investigation into the plane crash.

An aviation source told Dawn on Tuesday that the crashed plane was in a better condition among the A-320 fleet.

The PIA has a total 32 planes — 12 Boeing-777, 11 Airbus and remaining ATRs.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020