At least 3 sur­vive as PIA flight crashes in Karachi

Pi­lot talked of lost en­gine, gave May­day dis­tress call sec­onds be­fore the tragedy

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

karachi — A jet­liner car­ry­ing 98 peo­ple crashed on Fri­day in a crowded neigh­bour­hood near the air­port in Pak­istan’s port city of Karachi after an ap­par­ent en­gine fail­ure dur­ing land­ing. Of­fi­cials said there were at least three sur­vivors from the plane, and it was un­known how many peo­ple on the ground were in­jured, with at least five houses de­stroyed.

The pi­lot of Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines Flight 8303 was heard trans­mit­ting a may­day to the tower shortly be­fore the crash of the Air­bus

A320, which was fly­ing from La­hore to Karachi. Video on so­cial me­dia ap­peared to show the jet fly­ing low over a res­i­den­tial area with flames shoot­ing from one of its en­gines.

The plane came to rest about 2.39pm in a nar­row al­ley in the con­gested res­i­den­tial area known as Model Colony be­tween houses smashed by its wings. Po­lice in pro­tec­tive masks strug­gled to clear away crowds amid the smoke and dust so am­bu­lances and fire trucks could move through the al­ley.

Three pas­sen­gers sur­vived, said Meeran Yousaf, Sindh Health Depart­ment spokes­woman. Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar ini­tially said all aboard died, but two civil avi­a­tion of­fi­cials later said that at least two peo­ple sur­vived. Lo­cal TV sta­tions re­ported that three peo­ple sit­ting in the front row of the air­craft sur­vived and showed video of a man on a stretcher they iden­ti­fied as Za­far Ma­sood, the head of the Bank of Pun­jab. —

Shocked & sad­dened by the PIA crash. Am in touch with PIA CEO Ar­shad Ma­lik, who has left for Karachi & with the res­cue & re­lief teams on ground as this is the pri­or­ity right now. Im­ran Khan @Im­ranKhanPTI

karachi — A PIA plane with 99 peo­ple on board crashed into a res­i­den­tial area in Karachi on Fri­day, killing sev­eral peo­ple on the ground.

The plane was close to land­ing when it came down among houses, spark­ing an ex­plo­sion and send­ing plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen from some dis­tance away.

At least 41 peo­ple are con­firmed to have been killed in the plane crash, Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines’ (PIA) chief ex­ec­u­tive said. “Forty-one dead are con­firmed in the plane crash,” CEO Ar­shad Ma­lik told a news con­fer­ence.

He said Pak­istan’s in­de­pen­dent safety in­ves­ti­ga­tions agency would in­quire into the crash.

A trans­mis­sion of the pi­lot’s fi­nal ex­change with air traf­fic con­trol, posted on the web­site LiveATC.net, 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.

Video on so­cial me­dia ap­peared to show the jet fly­ing low over a res­i­den­tial area with flames shoot­ing from one of its en­gines. The plane came to rest about 2.39pm in a nar­row al­ley in the con­gested res­i­den­tial area known as Model Colony be­tween houses smashed by its wings.

Seemin Ja­mali, a di­rec­tor from the Jin­nah Post Grad­u­ate Med­i­cal Col­lege in the city, said eight dead and 15 in­jured peo­ple had been brought to the fa­cil­ity. “They were all from the ground, no (plane) pas­sen­gers have been brought here,” she said.

Res­cue work­ers and lo­cal res­i­dents pulled peo­ple from the de­bris, as fire­fight­ers tried to ex­tin­guish the flames. A re­porter wit­nessed charred bod­ies be­ing loaded into am­bu­lances.

Lo­cal TV sta­tions re­ported that at least 11 bod­ies were re­cov­ered from the crash site and six peo­ple were in­jured. It was not im­me­di­ately clear if the ca­su­al­ties were pas­sen­gers.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were de­stroyed in the crash.

Res­i­dents near the scene said their walls shook be­fore a big ex­plo­sion erupted as the plane 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.

An­other res­i­dent Mu­das­sar Ali said he “heard a big bang and woke up to peo­ple call­ing for the fire bri­gade”.

The crash hap­pened on the eve of the Eid Al Fitr, when most peo­ple travel to visit rel­a­tives.

“The aero­plane first hit a mo­bile tower and crashed over houses,” wit­ness Sha­keel Ahmed said near the site, a few kilo­me­tres short of the air­port.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Ijaz Ah­mad Shah said the plane had de­vel­oped a tech­ni­cal fault and that the pi­lot had said the craft had lost an en­gine and is­sued a may­day call. —

— AFP

TRAGIC FLIGHT: Fire­fight­ers spray wa­ter on the wreck­age of the PIA air­craft after it crashed into a res­i­den­tial area of Karachi on Fri­day.

AP

SEARCH FOR SUR­vIvORS: vol­un­teers look for sur­vivors of the plane that crashed in Karachi on Fri­day. —

AFP

WIDE­SPREAD DE­StRUC­tION: the wreck­age of cars scat­tered after the plane crash in Model Colony. —

AP

RES­CUE WORK: vol­un­teers carry an in­jured per­son at the site of the plane crash. —

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