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11-man French team gathers evidence from A320 crash site

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*Black Box still missing; official suggests it could be in someone’s house

NP newsroom

KARACHI: An 11-member team of crash investigation experts from Aerospatiale ‑‑ the company that manufactures Airbus planes, arrived at the site of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A320 crash in Model Colony here on Wednesday to investigate the accident that happened on Friday 22nd May.

Of the 99 people aboard, 97 were killed and only two passengers survived.

Experts studying the crash and the site fear an ineffective cordoning off of the site previous to the French team’s arrival, and that the crash site was left open to inquisitive neighbours whose houses the plane crashed into, as well as members of the public.

However, the team will be ‘accompanied’ by a local investigative group and will focus on finding the mysteriously disappeared cockpit recorder or “Black Box”.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan reportedly said the voice recorder was being looked for frantically, suggesting it might have fallen into one of the houses in the Model Colony area the plane crashed into.

He implored residents to hand it over to the authorities if they found it in their houses, warning the citizens against keeping anything of the aircraft as a memento.

The airline had said on Saturday that the black box had been found, which included both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

Sources say that after clearance from the Airbus team, the remains of the plane ‑‑ including the cabin, tail and other parts ‑‑ were moved from the site to the airport.

Sources said the plane’s engines and landing gear will follow shortly since they “had been kept back for the technical team’s investigation”.

Airbus is conducting an independent investigation into the crash, which reportedly happened due to engine failure.

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