2 survive, Pak jet crashes 4 km from airport
RESIDENTS NEAR the scene said their walls shook before a big explosion erupted as the aircraft slammed into their neighbourhood
At least 45 people were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 99 people on board crashed into a densely populated residential area near the Jinnah International Airport at Karachi on Friday, officials said, days after the Covid-19-induced travel restrictions were lifted. The site was 4 km from the airport.
There were three survivors including Bank of Punjab president Zafar Masood who called up his mother to inform her of his well-being. Another survivor has been identified as Mohammad Zubair. Rescue and salvage operations were continuing as reports came in.
Officials said Flight PK8303 took off from Lahore’s
Allama Iqbal International Airport and crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, just a minute before its landing.
An audio clip of a purported conversation between the captain of the plane and the air traffic control has the pilot saying that they have ‘lost two engines’. A few seconds later he gives a ‘Mayday’ call.
The PIA Airbus A320 was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members. Faisal Edhi of the Edhi welfare trust told reporters that so far 45 bodies have been recovered from the site.
“As per our estimates there are around 50 more dead bodies under the debris,” Edhi said.
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 during the crash landing hit the houses in the residential colony before crashing down.
“At least 25 houses have been damaged in this incident, Edhi said. Images aired on TV showed the flight smashed into a residential area, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.
Karachi, May 22: Mohammad Zubair, who survived the fiery crash of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft at Karachi on Friday, said the plane started wobbling as it approached the airport.
“The next moment there was a hard crash and I lost consciousness,” said Zubair. When he woke up, there was smoke everywhere. Zubair suffered minor injuries and is under treatment at the burns ward.
A Karachi resident, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the jet circle at least three times, appearing to try to land before it crashed.
Reports indicated that the tail-end of Flight PK8303, an Airbus A320 aircraft, hit the ground first and that those who survived were seated in the front portion. However, Sarfraz Ahmed, a firefighter at the crash site, said the nose of the Airbus A320 and the fuselage had been heavily damaged by the impact.
The plane has a capacity of 180 passengers but was carrying about half that number to maintain physical distancing norms
A resident of Model Colony in Malir, 4 km from the airport, who witnessed the crash told Ary News channel that the aircraft had fire coming from its wings before it hit the rooftops of some houses and crash landed.
Residents near the scene said their walls shook before a big explosion erupted as the aircraft slammed into their neighbourhood.
“I was coming from the mosque when I saw the plane tilting on one side. The engines' sounds were quite weird. It was so low that the walls of my house were trembling,” said 14-year-old witness Hassan. Mudassar Ali said he “heard a big bang and woke up to people calling for the fire brigade”.
The main hurdle to the rescue efforts was the narrow streets and presence of locals who gathered at the place after the crash. Television channels showed several houses and cars damaged in the society where the aircraft crashed. As darkness fell, crews worked under floodlights to recover bodies and a portable morgue was set up.
The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramzan and the beginning of Muslim holiday Id al-Fitr, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages.
Firefighters spray water on the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed at a residential area in Karachi on Friday. The plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of Karachi a minute before landing 4 km from the airport.
People comfort a relative of a victim near the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed in a residential area in Karachi on Friday. —