A minimum of 57 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines plane with 99 people on board crashed into a densely populated residential area close the Jinnah International Airport here on Friday, officials said, almost a week after the COVID-19-induced air shuttle restrictions were lifted by the government.
Flight PK-8303 from Lahore was once approximately to land in Karachi when it crashed at the Jinnah Garden area close Mannequin Colony in Malir, minutes before its touchdown, they said.
The PIA Airbus A320 carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members has crash- landed into the Jinnah Housing Society located close the airport, a spokesperson of the national carrier said.
Thick black smoke rose from the accident scene of devastation in the Mannequin Colony area.
Earlier, a PIA spokesperson and lots of media reports said that there have been 107 people on board the aircraft.
Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho and rescue officials confirmed that 57 deceased bodies have been retrieved so far from the site of the crash.
“But we are still to decide if these 57 people were all on board the flight or include area residents as numerous houses have been badly damaged by the aircraft when it crashed,” she said.
The minister said there are three survivors including President of the Bank of Punjab Zafar Masood. He called up his mother to notify her of his well-being.
Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Welfare Believe said that around 25 to 30 residents whose houses were damaged by the plane have also been taken to the hospital, mostly with burn wounds.
The aircraft wings right through the crash touchdown hit the houses in the residential colony before crashing down.
“A minimum of 25 houses have been damaged in this incident,” Edhi said. “The first precedence is to rescue the people. The main hurdle is narrow Roads and presence of peculiar people who gathered at the place after the crash but they’ve been dispersed,” the minister said.
According to a PIA official, the captain informed the air traffic regulate that he was once having problems with the touchdown gear before the aircraft disappeared from the radar.
Thick black smoke rose from a scene of devastation in the Mannequin Colony area.
Television footage showed rescue crews combing through debris strewn across the Roads of the district – 3 km north-east of the airport – where numerous houses have been destroyed.
The reason for the crash is yet to be confirmed. PIA chief executive Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik said the pilot had told traffic regulate that the plane was once experiencing “technical difficulties”.
Malik rejected reports that the plane had problems even before flying. Talking to the media, he said the aircraft was once totally protected and sound.
He said all checks and procedures were done and “technically in addition to administratively everything was once in place and perfect”.
The plane with 99 people on board came for touchdown but just before touchdown the pilot said he was once going for a go-around. While coming for a second touchdown, it developed some problems and crashed. “The real cause of the mishap will be known after inquiry, which will be free and reasonable and it’s going to be given with media,” he said.
He said some houses were damaged but none of them collapsed. There was once no death on the ground so far.
Malik said that all of the operation will take two to three days to total. Pakistan’s Dunya News said it had obtained a recording of the conversation, also posted on monitoring website liveatc.net.
In it, the pilot says they’ve “missing two engines”. Several seconds later he calls “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” and there’s no further communication.
Meantime, President Arif Alvi expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the plane crash.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while expressing deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives because of the PIA passenger plane crash in Karachi, has ordered a right away inquiry into the incident.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa condoled the loss of lives and directed the military to supply full assistance to the civil administration in rescue and relief efforts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the plane crash and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. The flight was once coming from Lahore to Karachi after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) allowed limited resumption of domestic flights final Saturday following weeks of lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Television channels showed several houses and cars damaged in the society where the aircraft crashed.
The plane missing contact with the air traffic regulate at 2.37 PM (native time), PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said.
He said that the passengers included, 31 women and nine children.
A resident of the colony who witnessed the crash told Ary News channel that the aircraft had fire coming from its wings which crashed into rooftops of a few houses before it crash-landed.
This is the first major aircraft crash in Pakistan after December 7, 2016 when a PIA ATR-42 aircraft from Chitral to Islamabad crashed halfway. The crash claimed the lives of all 48 passengers and the crew.
Friday’s accident occurred on a day when the interior ministry announced Eid holidays from May 22 to May 27, even as the country was once facing a spike in the coronavirus cases.
The COVID-19 cases in the country have crossed the 50,000-mark after a record 2,603 more patients were diagnosed on Thursday. The death toll stands at 1,067.