Pakistan

Eight-member ATR team visits PK-661 crash site, gathers evidence

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ISLAMABAD: An eight-member special team of the France-based turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR visited the PK-661 crash site near Havelian in Abbottabad District on Tuesday amid tight security.

The team, including two members of the ATR engine manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney, and two members of the company itself, would help Pakistani officials to probe a recent deadly plane crash that killed 47 people including Junaid Jamshed, a popstar-turned-Muslim evangelist.

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Other members of the ATR team include four experts of the France-based turboprop aircraft manufacturer.

The team took detailed pictures of the crash site on Tuesday and gathered evidence from the wreckage of the ill-fated plane they thought were important for the investigation.

On Monday, the team members also met officials of the Safety and Investigation Board (SIB) of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who briefed them on the crash and later handed over all the available records of the crashed ATR aircraft.

Pakistan was pinning hope that the ATR team’s investigation would shed more light on the possible factors and technical errors that the PK-661flight en route from the mountainous rejoin of Chitral to capital Islamabad must have had during its last journey.

French embassy also assured Pakistani government of full cooperation in the plan crash investigation.

An ATR-42 aircraft carrying 47 people issued a Mayday call on Wednesday last week before losing radar contact and crashing into a mountain, killing everyone on board.

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Engine trouble was initially believed responsible, but many questions remain, stirring new worries about the safety record of PIA.

The aircraft appeared to have suffered a failure in one of its two turboprop engines just before the crash, to be confirmed by an investigation.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) grounded its fleet of 10 European-made ATR planes after the tragic crash, it said on Monday.

PIA said it grounded the flights after Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority decided to conduct “shakedown tests” of PIA’s entire ATR fleet.

“(PIA has) decided to keep all 10 ATR aircraft grounded till they are cleared after a thorough examination,” the company said in a statement.

 

Identification process to complete by 17th

State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry on Monday said that the identification process of all PIA plane crash victims was likely to complete by December 17.

Talking to media outside PIMS hospital, the minister confirmed the identification of 12 victims using latest technologies while the remaining 35 bodies, Chaudhry said, would be identified through DNA testing.

On the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, special arrangements were also made to transport families of the victims back to their cities along with the bodies.

The body of Junaid Jamshed was also identified through face X-ray and his dental history, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad confirmed late Monday.

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