Crashed Pakistani jet's cockpit voice recorder found

Pakistani jet's cockpit voice recorder raises hopes of finding answer to 'million dollar question'
2 min read
Officials hope the plane's black box flight recorder will provide answers into the devastating crash.

Ninety-seven people were killed and two survived when the passenger plane crashed [AFP/Getty]

Investigators scouring the site of a crashed Pakistani airliner found the jet's cockpit voice recorder Thursday and hope it will answer why pilots had failed at an initial landing attempt.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane came down among houses on May 22 after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport, killing 97 people on board. Two passengers survived. 

Investigators found the plane's black box flight recorder two days after the crash.

Pakistan's aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said a French-led investigation team would analyse the Airbus A320's recorders.

"We have found the voice recorder and data (black box) recorder, and the French authorities will take them with them," Khan told a press conference. 

Questions are swirling over the ill-fated Flight 8303, during which the pilot made an initial landing attempt when the plane briefly made contact with the ground multiple times, before going around for a second attempt.

"It is a million-dollar question as to why the pilot chose to fly back after touching the ground," Khan said.

Experts have raised the possibility pilots had initially tried to land the Airbus without first lowering the wheels.

PIA previously said that air traffic control lost contact with the plane, which was travelling from Lahore, just after the pilot made a desperate mayday call following the failed initial landing attempt.

In that call, he can be heard announcing "we have lost engines", according to an audio recording confirmed by the airline.

On board the aircraft were 91 passengers, six cabin crew and two pilots. There were no fatalities on the ground. 

Read more: Survivor recalls horror of Pakistan plane crash that killed 97

A preliminary crash report was expected to be made public June 22 in a parliamentary session, Khan said. 

He added that 12 to 15 houses had been badly damaged in the crash, and that the government would compensate residents for property losses. 

Pakistan has a chequered military and civilian aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.

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