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Pakistani airline grounds ATR planes after crash

The announcement came after the pilot of another ATR-manufactured plane reported an engine problem late Sunday.

By Ed Adamczyk
Pakistani airline grounds ATR planes after crash
A file photo from January 15, 2011, shows a Pakistan International Airlines ATR 42 turboprop passenger plane preparing to take off in Quetta, Pakistan. The airline grounded all its ATR planes on Monday after one crashed last week and another experienced engine problems Sunday. File Photo by Waheed Khan/European Pressphoto Agency

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Pakistan International Airlines grounded its 10 remaining French-made ATR airplanes after a crash last week killed 47 people, the airline announced Monday.

The temporary suspension of use of the propeller-driven planes comes after the crash of Flight PK661 on Dec. 7 and a decision by Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority to hold shakedown tests of PIA's fleet of ATR-manufactured planes. Representatives of the ATR Aircraft company, based in Toulouse, France, may join Pakistani investigators in examining the cause of the crash, Express Tribune reported Monday.

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The plane, traveling from Islamabad to Chital, struck a hillside near Abbottabad after an engine failure. Pakistani pop star and evangelist Junaid Jamshed was among those killed in the crash.

Another ATR plane reported technical problems before it was scheduled to take off late Sunday on a flight from Multan to Karachi. The plane was grounded as a precaution after the pilot noticed an engine problem.

The ATR plane is used in more than 100 countries by 200 airlines for short flights. The grounding of the PIA planes will largely affect passengers flying to smaller airports in Pakistan.

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