Nine-member investigation team visits PK-661 crash site

Islamabad, Dec 13 (IANS) A nine-member investigation team on Tuesday visited the site of the crash of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in which all 48 people onboard were killed.

The team comprises of three French officials and three Canadian officials belonging to France-based aircraft manufacturer ATR and US-based engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. Three Pakistani officials are also part of the team visiting the crash site, Dawn reported.

The team will work jointly with Pakistan’s Safety Investigation Board (SIB) to ascertain the cause of the December 7 crash.

The black-box and voice recorder of the aircraft will also be sent to France to begin probe. The French embassy has issued directives to facilitate travel and other arrangements of the experts in connection with the investigation.

Earlier, sources said the incident inquiry could take up to three weeks after data from the black-box and the recorder is received.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane, carrying 48 people, was en route to Islamabad from the northern city of Chitral when it crashed near Abbottabad last week.

Flight PK-661 crashed into a hillside after one of its two turboprop engines failed shortly after take-off, and burst into flames.

PIA Chairman Azam Saigol resigned from his post on Monday citing personal reasons, less than a week after the crash.

The media focus following the crash has fallen on PIA’s safety record, but the loss-making state carrier has vehemently denied media reports that there was a fault with the aircraft before the take-off.

On Monday, PIA grounded its fleet of 10 European-made ATR planes after Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority decided to conduct “shakedown tests” of the carrier’s entire ATR fleet.

–IANS

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