Black box found after Pakistan plane crash

The flight data recorder from the Pakistani airliner that crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Karachi has been found, as the death toll rose to 97.

There were two survivors, while no fatalities were reported in the densely populated area of the city where the aircraft crash-landed on Friday.

Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 8303, an Airbus A320, was flying from Lahore to Karachi with 99 people on board when it went down mid-afternoon while trying a second landing attempt.

"The black box had been found late yesterday, we are handing it over to the inquiry board," PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said on Saturday (local time). He said that included both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

The airline's chief executive, Arshad Malik, said on Friday the last message received from the pilot indicated there was a technical problem.

Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi.
Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi. Photo credit: Reuters

Another senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane had been unable to lower its landing gear for the first approach.

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

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

Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan announced soon after the crash that there would be an inquiry.

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

Army and civil administration personnel were clearing through the debris in the Karachi neighbourhood on Saturday and assisting residents whose homes had been damaged.

Pakistan only last week resumed domestic flights it had suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people travelling for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, expected to fall on Sunday or Monday in the country.

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

Reuters

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