Pakistan

Monsoon hampers Pakistan aircrash seach, Airbus to help

Reuters

Monsoon rain and cloud are hampering the search for the black box of the Pakistani airliner which crashed on Wednesday, killing all 152 passengers. A team from Europe’s Airbus is to help investigate the causes of the crash.

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Helicopters are grounded because of poor visibility, and the black box had yet to be located, officials in Islamabad say.

Investigators hope the flight data recorder will give clues as to why of the ten-year-old Airbus crashed, despite being piloted by an experienced captain. Previous reports said the black box had been recovered.

Flags flew at half-mast as Pakistan observed a day of mourning and businesses placed advertisements in newspapers to express condolences or honour colleagues who died in the crash.

But questions are focusing on why the pilot had been flying the Airbus 321 so low over the craggy hills in a restricted flight zone while preparing to land.

The search has been spread over a wider area and more body parts have been found, officials reported on Thursday.

Two Americans, an Austrian-born businessman, five children and two babies were among the 152 people on board flight ED 202.

The remains of 115 bodies have been recovered and it could take up to a week to identify the most charred remains, Information Minister Qamar Zaman told reporters.

A team from European company Airbus is to arrive in Pakistan on Thursday to assist with the investigation, according to Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority chief Junaid Ameen. He refused to comment on reports that air traffic control may have asked the pilot to divert.

US President Barack Obama offered his "deepest condolences" over the plane crash. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply saddened" and China's President Hu Jintao also conveyed his condolences.
 

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