Black boxes found in Pakistan plane crash; 97 dead, 2 survive

Pakistani security officials stand guard Saturday, a day after a passenger plane of state run Pakistan International Airlines crashed in a residential area, in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE

Investigators said Saturday that they found the so-called "black boxes" from a passenger jet that crashed in Pakistan, killing 97 people.
Two people survived the crash -- Bank of Punjab CEO Zafar Masood and engineer Mohammad Zubair, both of whom were transported to the hospital for treatment.

Zubair said he unfastened his seatbelt after the plane crashed. He said the aircraft was "engulfed in flames" and he heard people screaming. He jump 10 feet down to exit the plane after he saw a light in the distance.

"They took me to Jinnah hospital and then I was brought to Civil hospital, where I currently am," Zubair said.

Pakistan's Aviation Ministry said 99 people were aboard the jetliner when it crashed on Friday afternoon.

The commercial airliner for Pakistan International Airlines, Flight PK-8302, was en route from Lahore to Karachi when it crashed into a narrow residential street in the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, just outside of Karachi airport's boundary wall.

There was damage to houses in the Jinnah Garden area.

The civil administration assisted Model Colony residents from 25 houses with accommodations as the site was cleared for search and rescue. Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the government will bear the cost of repairing the damaged houses and vehicles in the area.

He added that the current priority is to transfer the bodies of the victims to their families.

Several recovered bodies have yet to be identified pending DNA tests results, according to officials.

Among the passengers who died were a senior journalist at 24 News TV Channel Ansar Naqvi who was headed to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. There were also three children and several army officers, Anadolu Agency reported. Model Zari Abid was also identified as among the dead, Dawn reported.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to do an "immediate inquiry," following the crash.

The pilot sent a mayday distress call to controllers saying the plane lost power from both engines on its second attempt to land, according to a recording posted on LiveATC.net. The recording also indicated that the controller cleared the plane to land, but the pilot appeared to be off-course.

"The pilot was told that both runways were ready for him to land," Pakistan International Airlines chief executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik said. "However, the pilot decided to do a go-around. Why did he do that, due to what technical reason, that we will find out."

PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan added Saturday that the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered from the crash site.

"The black box had been found late yesterday, we are handing it over to the inquiry board," Khan said.

Malik said the Aviation Ministry is overseeing a probe into the incident along with the government of Pakistan, the armed forces, and the National Disaster Management Authority.

"We will need two to three days to complete the operation," Malik said. "We want the inquiry to be completed as soon as possible but we cannot say when. We do not wish to interfere with the inquiry in any way."

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