Images broadcast on the country’s public television show that the device crashed in a residential neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city.
The Airbus A320 was carrying 98 people, 91 passengers and seven
crew members. The number of passengers has now been updated
after the authorities initially announced that they would follow 107 people on board.
Pakistani civil aviation authority officials said there were at least two survivors. Local television stations, for their part, are reporting that at least six passengers, who were flying in the front row of the plane, may have survived, having already been rescued by rescue teams.
Seemin Jamali, executive director of the nearby Jinnah Hospital, also told Reuters that 17 bodies and six wounded were taken to the hospital. There are still no estimates of casualties at the scene of the accident.
The flight had taken off from Lahore, the country’s second largest city, and intended to land at Karachi airport. Several witnesses said the Airbus A320 tried to land two or three times before it crashed.
“The pilot’s last words were to inform that there was a technical problem and on the final approach they told him that he had both tracks available. But the pilot indicated that he wanted to turn around, “said PIA CEO Arshad Malik in a video message released after the accident.” It is a very tragic accident, “lamented Malik.
The pilot reportedly asked for help from the control tower, explaining on the second landing attempt that he had lost both engines.
The Pakistani army said that paramilitary troops quickly arrived on the scene to provide aid and try to rescue the crew. Sources revealed to Al Jazeera that there are several burning houses and cars. The mayor of Karachi, Wasim Akhtar, said there were at least six houses that were destroyed.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a Twitter post that he was “shocked and saddened by the accident” and left a promise that he would institute an “immediate investigation”.
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. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.
– Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020
The airworthiness information reveals that the plane last received a check on November 1, 2019, having received proof of being able to fly.
The accident comes just days after the country resumed commercial flights after being interrupted following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The worst road accident in Pakistan in recent years occurred in 2010. An Airbus 321 from private company Airblue, flying from Karachi to Islamabad, crashed into the hills just before landing in the capital, killing the 152 people on board.