Investigation team returns to France taking voice, data recorder for probe

Airbus team had arrived to investigate the PIA crash in a residential area

​ Our Correspondent June 01, 2020
Security personnel walk beside the wreckage of the crashed PIA plane. PHOTO: AFP/File

KARACHI: French experts investigating the PIA plane crash of May 22 have departed for France via a special flight. They left on Monday, taking the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, and samples from the wreckage with them.

The 11-member team of Airbus - the manufacturer of the aircraft - also inspected the crash site, the runway at Karachi airport, and the approach tower, collecting all necessary evidence.

They also inspected the aircraft’s engines, landing gear, wings and flight control system avionics as well as the houses destroyed in the crash.

At the airport, they inspected friction marks on the runway caused by the belly landing, reviewed CCTV footage of the landing and surveyed the runway and apron from different angles from the control tower and approach tower.

The team had also sought the complete record of the crashed aircraft from the PIA, to determine how many times the A320 had landed in a year, what defects were worked on, how many cycles did the engine complete during the flight last year, how many times did the plane go through the check process, how many times the landing gear was serviced, which engineers worked in the main technical services of the aircraft and what resources and parts were used to fix the technical issues.

Another team of experts in France will investigate the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

The work is expected to begin tomorrow, on June 2, at an aviation laboratory in Le Bourget, France.

The decoding of the data recorder will enable the investigators to hear the conversation between the captain and the first officer during the flight as well as their communication with the air traffic controllers.

After the black box is decoded, they will be able to determine as to how the two captains used the plane’s equipment from take-off till the crash and assess how well the cockpit crew adhered to Airbus’ agreed procedures for operating the aircraft.

The experts will also use the pictures they took of the crash site and marks on the runway using high-resolution and drone cameras as they investigate the crash.

A team of the Pakistan’s Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board’s (AAIB) reportedly also accompanied the experts back to France.

On Sunday, heavy machinery reached the crash site to remove an engine and wing still buried under rubble. The wing was extracted and transported to the airport.

However, the engine will be extracted and transported under the supervision of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) construction experts on Monday.


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