Black boxes from crashed Pakistan jet head to France for analysis

Volunteers look for survivors of a plane that crashed in residential area of Karachi on May 22, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Black boxes from crashed Pakistan jet head to France for analysis

  • French agency is involved in the Pakistan-led probe because the crashed A320 was designed by France-based Airbus
  • A320 operated by PIA crashed short of the runway on May 22, killing 97 people on board

PARIS/KARACHI: Air crash investigators were en route from Pakistan to France on Monday with two ‘black box’ flight recorders of a Pakistani airliner that crashed in a residential area while trying to land in the port city of Karachi last month, airport officials said.
An Airbus test plane, unusually commissioned to transport the boxes because of disruption from the coronavirus crisis, was due to arrive on Monday afternoon at Le Bourget near Paris where France’s BEA air accident agency was standing by to open them.
The French agency is involved in the Pakistan-led probe because the crashed A320 was designed by France-based Airbus, and is additionally carrying out the crucial task of decoding the recorders because it has state-of-the-art equipment.
The A320 operated by Pakistan International Airlines crashed short of the runway on May 22, killing 97 people on board after the pilots reported the loss of both engines.
Two passengers survived and there were no reports of casualties on the ground. The crash site remained sealed off on Monday.
BEA experts are expected to open and download information from the boxes — one containing cockpit voice recordings and the other aircraft data — on Tuesday, subject to the recording chips being intact inside their crash-resistant shells.
Initial reports suggested the jetliner scraped its engines along the runway on a first attempt to land following what appeared to be an unstable approach, arriving steep and fast.
Investigators will analyze the cockpit data to try to understand whether damage to the engines from the first landing attempt caused them to cut out before the second attempt, leaving the airplane unable to make it to the airport perimeter.
Experts warn it is too early to say what caused the crash.
In Karachi, as officials continued to try to identify victims’ bodies using DNA samples, families took to social media to voice their grief at not being able to perform the last rites of their loved ones.
The airline said on Sunday problems in identifying victims were caused by delays in DNA identification outside its control. 


Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

Updated 19 September 2020

Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

  • The book tells the story of a young boy from Karachi's Lyari, who is learning about the virus to help others
  • 'Little Master' is illustrated by Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series 'Paak-Legion'

RAWALPINDI: "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book, is going to be released on Monday to guide Pakistani children how to stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic and cope with COVID-19 misinformation.
Published by Mehrdar Art & Production (MAP), the book tells the story of Ahmed, a young boy from Karachi's Lyari area, who is trying to learn about the coronavirus to help keep others safe, regardless of their community background.
"Comics are a great way to tell a story positively and are really useful in countering misinformation,” Muhammad Faheem, documentary filmmaker and MAP founder, told Arab News on Saturday.

The cover of "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book to help Pakistani children cope with COVID-19 misinformation. (Photo courtesy of Muhammad Faheem via AN)

The efforts have been funded by MAP itself and through government and private support. To illustrate "Little Master," Faheem asked for help Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series "Paak-Legion."
Thousands of copies of "Little Master" will be distributed at schools in underprivileged areas such as Lyari, where misinformation has led to blame games and community tensions that affected virus response. Some narratives even questioned the very existence of the virus and necessity to follow any precautions against it.

Umair Najeeb Khan is working on an illustration for the "Little Master" comic book in Islamabad on Sept. 19, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Umair Najeeb Khan via AN)

In May, Faheem rolled out "Hum Sab Saath, Corona ki Kilaaf" ("All of Us Together Against the Coronavirus"), a campaign through posters, social media and talks by community leaders to address the situation.
"It got to the point where relief efforts in these areas were being compromised because people were questioning who deserved help," Faheem said. "We needed to address not only the severity of what was going on but educate the citizens of these areas on what was real information to help combat the fake news and rising bigotry."
The comic book is a follow up to these efforts.
"When kids read our comics, we hope they will learn more about the pandemic and how it is a collective effort that we all have to join together, regardless of our backgrounds."