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

Deccan Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - SHAFQAT ALI I DC with agency re­ports IS­LAM­ABAD, KARACHI, MAY 22

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.

— AFP

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. —

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