AirBlue plane crash probe report finalised

ISLAMABAD (September 01 2010): The investigation team of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) probing the air crash of AirBlue Airbus A321, has finalised its report based on information retrieved from the black box and handed it over to the Ministry of Defence, which will submit it to the Prime Minister, said a spokesman of the CAA on Tuesday.

However, investigation is still going on and the final report on the air disaster is still awaited, the spokesman told Business Recorder. He said that it would take two to three more months to reach any conclusion. The investigation team, which took the black box to France for assistance to decode it, has submitted the retrieved data to the Ministry of Defence, he said. He declined to provide any details of the information retrieved, saying that the CAA would not comment on the report, nor would it provide any details at this moment in time.

He said that the Ministry of Defence is the appropriate forum to make the report public, if deemed appropriate. The investigators have, however, clarified that there was no technical problem in the Airbus A321, and it was a fit aircraft for flight, sources privy to investigators told this scribe. They said that investigators were looking into the possibilities of sabotage as some findings, notably an unidentified voice, was clearly heard on the voice recorder. The presence of a third person, the investigators noted in their findings, was inexplicable.

Sources said that the pilot had about two-and-a-half minutes conversation with control tower. The Black Box was decoded in Toulouse, France, where the main factory of Airbus is located, and it has the facility to decode from the data recorder of the crashed Airbus A 321, CAA sources said, adding that this facility is not available in Pakistan. A five-member investigation team was constituted on the day the airliner carrying 146 passengers and six crew members crashed in Margalla Hills. The investigation team, headed by Commodore Khwaja Abdul Majeed, Chairman of Safety Investigation, had terms of reference (ToR) to investigate the cause of the crash.

Sources said that the investigation team also took possession of data available at the Airport Traffic Control and questioned its staff. Minister for Interior Rehman Malik in his press talk on July 29 had stated that terrorism and/or sabotage in the crash of Airblue Airbus A321 in Margalla Hills could not be ruled out – Brecorder