Pak­istan pas­sen­ger plane crash leaves at least 11 peo­ple dead

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The Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines plane was close to land­ing when it came down among houses, spark­ing an ex­plo­sion and send­ing plumes of smoke into the air

KARACHI A Pak­istani plane with nearly 100 peo­ple on board crashed into a res­i­den­tial area in the south­ern city of Karachi yes­ter­day, with a govern­ment min­is­ter re­port­ing two sur­vivors pulled from the wreck­age.

The Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines (PIA) 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 two pas­sen­gers had sur­vived the crash, ac­cord­ing to Syed Nasir Hus­sain Shah, the in­for­ma­tion min­is­ter in Sindh prov­ince where Karachi is lo­cated.

Seemin Ja­mali, a di­rec­tor from Jin­nah Post Grad­u­ate Med­i­cal Col­lege in the city, said 11 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.

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.

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

PIA spokesman Ab­dul­lah Hafeez said there were 91 pas­sen­gers and seven crew on board the flight, which lost con­tact with air traf­fic con­trol just after 2.30pm (0930 GMT).

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.

The dis­as­ter comes as Pak­ista­nis across the coun­try are pre­par­ing to cel­e­brate the end of Ra­madan and the be­gin­ning of Eid al-fitr, with many trav­el­ling back to their homes in cities and vil­lages.

Ab­dul Sat­tar Khokhar, a spokesman for the coun­try's avi­a­tion author­ity, said the Air­bus A320 was trav­el­ling from La­hore to Karachi.

'Prayers & con­do­lences'

Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan said he was "shocked and sad­dened" by the crash, tweet­ing that he was in touch with the state air­line's chief ex­ec­u­tive.

"Prayers & con­do­lences go to fam­i­lies of the de­ceased," he wrote on Twit­ter.

For­eign min­is­ter Shah Mah­mood Qureshi said the plane crashed into a res­i­den­tial area min­utes be­fore it was due to land.

The Pak­istan mil­i­tary said se­cu­rity forces had been de­ployed to the area and he­li­copters were be­ing used to sur­vey the dam­age and help on­go­ing res­cue op­er­a­tions, while of­fer­ing con­do­lences over the "loss of precious lives" in the in­ci­dent.

Com­mer­cial flights re­sumed only days ago, after planes were grounded dur­ing a lock­down over the coron­avirus pan­demic.

In 2016, a Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines plane burst into flames after one of its two tur­bo­prop en­gines failed while fly­ing from the re­mote north to Is­lam­abad, killing more than 40 peo­ple.

The dead­li­est air dis­as­ter on Pak­istani soil was in 2010, when an Air­bus A321 op­er­ated by pri­vate air­line Airblue and fly­ing from Karachi crashed into the hills out­side Is­lam­abad as it came into land, killing all 152 peo­ple on board.

An of­fi­cial re­port blamed the ac­ci­dent on a con­fused cap­tain and a hos­tile cock­pit at­mos­phere.

PIA, one of the world's lead­ing air­lines un­til the 1970s, now suf­fers from a sink­ing rep­u­ta­tion due to fre­quent can­cel­la­tions, de­lays and fi­nan­cial trou­bles. It has been in­volved in nu­mer­ous con­tro­ver­sies over the years, in­clud­ing the jail­ing of a drunk pi­lot in Bri­tain in 2013.


Res­cue work­ers cover the body of a vic­tim they re­cov­ered from the rub­ble after a Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­lines flight crashed in a res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood in Karachi yes­ter­day.

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