Pakistan plane crash: 97 dead, 2 survived

RNS: A Pakistan International Airlines plane PK-8303 with 99 travellers crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir on Friday afternoon.

Minutes before its landing in Karachi plan was crashed, ninety-seven passengers were killed while two of them miraculously survived; eleven people on the ground were injured, officials said on Saturday.

The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier had 91 passengers and a crew of eight, it said.

Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Welfare Trust said that around 25 to 30 residents whose houses were damaged by the plane have also been taken to the hospital, mostly with burn wounds, Dawn News reported.

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.

The flight was coming from Lahore to Karachi after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) allowed limited resumption of domestic flights last Saturday following weeks of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a PIA official, the captain informed the air traffic control that he was having problems with the landing gear before the aircraft disappeared from the radar.

PIA chief executive Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik said, the pilot had told traffic control that the plane was experiencing “technical difficulties.” Though the cause of the crash is yet to be confirmed, he said.

The plane came for landing but just before landing the pilot said he was going for a go-around. While coming for a second landing, it developed some problems and crashed. “The real cause of the mishap will be known after inquiry, which will be free and fair and it will be provided with media,” he said. Malik said that the entire operation will take two to three days to complete.

Pakistan has set up a four-member board of inquiry to know the cause of the crash.

The board has been asked to complete the probe within shortest possible time, according to an official notification by the Aviation Division of the government.

One of the passengers who survived, Muhammad Zubair told to the Geo News, “All I could see around was smoke and fire.”

“All I could see was the fire. I couldn’t see any people – just hear their screams,” he added.

“I opened my seat belt and saw some light. I went towards the light. I had to jump down about 10 feet to get to safety,” said Zubair.

The other passenger who survived 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 Guardian reported.

Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi that about 10 minutes after a failed first landing attempt, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to make a second attempt, then crashed as he approached the runway.

Smoke billowed from the scene where flight PK 8303 came down at about 2.45 pm local time. Twisted fuselage lay in the rubble of multi-storey buildings as ambulances rushed through chaotic crowds.

The crash happened on the eve of the Muslim Eid festival, when many in Pakistan 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, it reported.



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