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Airbus Experts Probe Karachi Crash     05/26 06:39


   KARACHI, Pakistan (AP)  Pakistan announced Tuesday that Airbus experts 
have opened a probe into last week's plane crash that killed 97 people when an 
Airbus A320 went down in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in the port 
city of Karachi.

   Initial reports have said the Pakistan International Airlines jet crashed 
after an apparent engine failure. Pakistani aviation authorities said Tuesday 
they have shared their initial findings with the visiting 11-member team from 
the European plane maker.

   The Airbus experts and engineers are also to visit the crash site, according 
to Abdul Hafeez, a spokesman for PIA. "We are providing all possible assistance 
to the technical experts of Airbus," he said.

   Only two people on board survived the crash, including Zafar Masood, a bank 

   Flight PK-8303 took off from the eastern city of Lahore and crashed on 
Friday while trying to land at the Karachi airport, Civil Aviation Authority 
spokesman Abdul Sattar Kokhar said.

   On the ground, 18 homes were damaged but no one was killed, mainly because 
the local residents were gathered at nearby mosques at the time, officials had 
said. Eight people on the ground were injured.

   So far, Pakistan has handed over 41 bodies to their families, Hafeez said, 
adding that DNA tests were underway to identify the remains of the other 

   The plane made failed attempts to land at the Karachi airport before the 
crash. Authorities found the plane's black box and have been guarding the crash 
site to facilitate the probe. The plane last received a government check last 
November. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28, 
confirming all maintenance had been conducted. Airbus has said the two-engine 
plane had logged 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flights as of last Friday.

   The crash took place days after Pakistan resumed domestic flights ahead of 
Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Many of 
the passengers aboard the flight were families returning home for the holiday.

   Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the 
virus, and when flights resumed last week, every other seat was left vacant to 
promote social distancing. Authorities have reported over 57,700 cases of the 
virus, including 1,197 deaths.


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