Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – A six-member investigation team consisting of three French and three Canadian officials from the France-based ATR aircraft manufacturer visited the crash site of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 in Havelian on Tuesday.

The team will work jointly with Pakistan’s Safety Investigation Board (SIB) to ascertain the cause of the December 7 crash, according to officials.

The officials will collect evidence from the crash site and, according to sources, the black box and voice recorder of the aircraft will also be sent to France as part of the investigation. The French embassy has issued directives to facilitate travel and other arrangements of the experts in connection with the investigation.

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Earlier sources said inquiry of the incident could take up to three weeks after data from the black box and the recorder is received.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 42 passengers, including pop icon-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed, and five crew members, was en route to Islamabad from the northern city of Chitral when it crashed near Abbottabad last week.

In the aftermath of the incident, PIA has grounded its entire fleet of ATR aircraft pending investigation.

The airline’s chairman, Azam Saigol, also tendered his resignation citing personal grounds. However, it is believed that this resignation was prompted by the intense scrutiny that resulted following speculation that the national flag-carrier was persisting with aircraft that was not airworthy.