Pakistan plane crash leaves at least 80 dead, others missing after hitting homes in Karachi
Posted Yesterday, updated 1hour ago
At least 80 dead in Pakistan plane crash
Civil aviation officials in Pakistan say at least 80 people have died after a passenger plane crashed into a crowded residential district of the city of Karachi after twice trying to land at the airport.
The Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed near the southern port city of Karachi
The aircraft arrived from the eastern city of Lahore carrying 99 passengers and crew
Witnesses say the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land at the airport before crashing
The plane belonging to state-run airline Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) crashed near the southern port city of Karachi, according to Abdul Sattar Kokhar, spokesman for the country’s civil aviation authority.
At least two of the 99 on board have survived and are being treated in hospital.
The death toll is expected to rise as not all of the 91 passengers and eight crew members on board are accounted for.
Provincial health authorities said it was not immediately clear whether the recovered bodies included casualties on the ground.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem[s],” PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement.
“It is a very tragic incident.”
Volunteers look for survivors among plane wreckage strew between apartment buildings.
The passenger plane was operated by the state-run Pakistan International Airlines.(AP: Fareed Khan)
A senior civil aviation official said it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was too early to determine the cause.
The airport in Lahore initially said there were 107 people on board before the civil aviation authority later revised that number.
Mr Kokhar said the discrepancy was due to confusion in the chaotic aftermath of the crash.
‘All I could see was smoke and fire’
Volunteers carry an injured person on a stretcher through the site of a plane crash.
At least two of the 99 on board have survived and are being treated in hospital.(AP: Fareed Khan)
One of the survivors was Zafar Masood, president of the Bank of Punjab, a Sindh provincial government spokesman said.
The bank said he had suffered fractures but was “conscious and responding well”.
The other survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for landing, briefly touched down, then took off again.
After about 10 more minutes of flying, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to go around for a second go, then crashed as he approached the runway, Mr Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi.
“All I could see around was smoke and fire,” he said.
“I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see any people — just hear their screams.
“I opened my seat belt and saw some light and I went towards the light. I had to jump down about [3 metres] to get to safety.”
‘We have lost engine’
Ambulances and fire brigade vehicles are pictured at the site of the passenger crash in the distance.
Ambulances and fire brigade vehicles gather at the site of the passenger plane crash.(Reuters: Akhtar Soomro)
The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops had reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration bodies.
Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport.
A resident of the area, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try to land at the airport before it crashed into several houses.
Volunteers use heavy machinery to searched for survivors in the narrow street full of wreckage.
The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops had reached the site for relief and rescue efforts.(AP: Fareed Khan)
A transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC****, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt.
“We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,” a pilot said.
“Confirm your attempt on belly,” the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.
“Sir — mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot said before the transmission ended.
‘Shocked and saddened’
Volunteers look for survivors using a sick to poke through plane wreckage strew between apartment buildings.
Police and military had cordoned off the area as volunteers and rescue workers searched for survivors.(AP: Fareed Khan)
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on Twitter that he was “shocked and saddened” by the crash, adding that an “immediate inquiry will be instituted”.
Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on November 1, 2019.
PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted on the plane and that “the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety” standards.
Ownership records for the Airbus A320 involved in the crash showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from 2004 until 2014. The plane then entered PIA’s fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services.
In 2016, a PIA plane carrying 47 people, including five crew members and 42 passengers, crashed into a mountain in northern Pakistan. There were no survivors.