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Probe into Pakistan plane crash will not take long time: official


09:50, April 22, 2012

ISLAMABAD, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan aviation officials Saturday vowed that investigation into the crash of a passenger aircraft near the capital Islamabad that killed 127 people Friday evening will not take a long time, urging the media to avoid jumping to the conclusion unless a probe is completed.

The Boeing-737-200 of private Bhoja airlines came down 10 kilometers from Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport few minutes before it was scheduled to land, officials said. The plane was coming from Karachi.

The investigation of this crash may not take too long, as the landing gear was down and the plane crashed on a flat terrain. Its parts disintegrated over almost 4 km, which will be easier to assemble and examine," Director-General (DG) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Nadeem Yousafzai said.

He told a news conference that the Black Box had been sent over to concerned authorities and its examination might take one month. "Depending on the type of the crash, the final result of the inquiry may take up to three months to one year."

Ruling out the possibility of harsh weather being the cause of the crash, the Yousafzai said there are proper systems set up to predict the weather and warnings are issued if the weather is harsh.

"I heard the conversation (between the air control tower and the pilot) myself. The tower told the pilot that it was clear to land. The pilot acknowledged and pulled the landing gear down. But immediately after, the communication got lost and the plane started going into a dive," he told the media. "What happened in this period needs to be investigated."

He added that an Airblue flight landed at Islamabad airport around five minutes after the crash and it was "right behind the Bhoja plane". The visibility was also till 4 km, he said. He avoided from making any final comments on the crash.

"There could be other reasons too. I won't comment and I'll request you all to refrain from commenting as well. Issuing a statement before the investigation completes can damage the outcome of the inquiry and affect the families of the victims."

He vowed to carry out investigation in line with international standards. He said Bhoja Air has been asked to give compensation to the families of the victims.

He informed reporters that out of 127 victims, bodies of 115 have been identified while the DNA test of 12 is in progress, and 113 bodies have been handed over to the families.

Owner of the Bhoja Airlines, Farooq Bhoja, was taken into custody and his name put on the Exit Control List after questions were raised about the safety of the crashed plane. Officials said the plane was nearly 27-year-old and was earlier grounded for ten years, according to local media.

The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) said that Bhoja has not been formally arrested or charged but is being kept in custody for questioning as the investigation process is underway

A senior FIA official Muazzam Ansari said records of Bhoja Air have also been seized.

Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira said in Islamabad that inquiry report of the crash will be made public.


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