Foreign experts recover missing cockpit voice recorder of crashed PIA aircraft

A team of foreign experts on Thursday recovered the missing cockpit voice recorder from the debris of the crashed Pakistan International Airlines plane, nearly a week after one of the worst aviation disasters in the country’s history.

The domestic flight from Lahore to Karachi crashed in a residential area near the Jinnah International Airport here last Friday, killing 97 people on board. Two passengers miraculously survived the crash.

The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed into the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir on Friday, minutes before its landing. Eleven people on the ground were also injured.

An 11-member team of foreign experts, which includes Airbus company representatives, visited the crash site and the runaway again on Thursday and found the cockpit voice recorder, which is an important piece of evidence in the investigations.

A cockpit voice recorder 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 investigation team inspected the debris of the aircraft for around five hours on Thursday and found the voice recorder, a PIA spokesman said.

Earlier, the flight data recorder of the plane was recovered.

“The voice recorder has been taken into possession by the aircraft accident investigation team today,” he said.

The investigation team, which reached Karachi on May 26, was to return after two days. As the team could not trace some key evidence required for the probe, they extended their stay.

“They will now return tomorrow,” the spokesman said.

The team includes members from France, Germany, the UK and other countries.

The team has conducted a forensic examination of the aircraft wreckage and also collected different parts of the plane that would help in identifying the cause of the crash.

They also used drone cameras for the purpose.

The team also visited the radar centre at the Jinnah International Airport and the runaway.

They reviewed the arrangements made for the landing and take-off of the planes, inspected the equipment in the radar room and asked questions to the on-duty air traffic controller.

The team then visited the control tower and reviewed the code of conduct followed after receiving an emergency call.

Meanwhile, a government official said the identification process of 47 bodies has been completed, while 43 bodies have been handed over for burial.

Friday’s accident was the first major aircraft crash in Pakistan after December 7, 2016 when a PIA ATR-42 aircraft from Chitral to Islamabad crashed midway. The crash claimed the lives of all 48 passengers and crew, including singer-cum-evangelist Junaid Jamshed.

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