Probably after a technical problem, a passenger plane in southern Pakistan crashes into a residential area before landing. Several bodies are recovered shortly afterwards. At least three people survive.
Islamabad – A swath of devastation has left the crash of a passenger plane in a residential area in Pakistan. The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) plane with around 100 people on board crashed near the city of Karachi a few minutes before the landing, the country’s aviation authority said on Friday. Around a dozen bodies had already been recovered, but at least three passengers had survived the accident. The rescue operation in the residential area was initially difficult.
TV recordings showed a thick, black cloud of smoke. Ambulances drove to the crash site. The military and police cordoned off the area known as the “Model Colony” about two kilometers from the runway. Residents rushed to their aid and looked for survivors in the devastation. Debris from destroyed houses and aircraft parts were scattered across the narrow streets.
Shortly before the crash, the pilot reported technical problems with the machine to the tower, said PIA chief Arshad Malik. Radio messages indicated a failure of one of the machine’s engines. Eyewitnesses told local television stations that they saw the plane circling the airport before it crashed in the residential area.
Injured people were pulled out of the rubble of collapsed buildings while firefighters fought fires. Dozens of people have been taken to a Karachi hospital, where the emergency was declared, according to authorities. The densely populated port city of Karachi in southern Pakistan has around 14 million inhabitants.
The airline operated by Pakistan International Airline with flight number PK8303 was on its way from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi, a spokesman for the airline said. According to the information, there were 91 passengers and 8 crew members on board the machine.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed condolences to the victims and families. “Shocked and saddened by the PIA crash,” Khan wrote on Twitter. He announced an immediate investigation. The German ambassador to Pakistan, Bernhard Schlagheck, expressed his condolences to the families’ victims.
The domestic flight PK8303 had started in Lahore in the northeast of the country. The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. local time (11:45 a.m. German time).
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 crash happened just a week after the Pakistani authorities decided to resume domestic air traffic. Due to the corona pandemic, international flights to the South Asian country will be suspended until the end of the month.
▶ ︎ Already in 2016, a machine of the state-owned airline PIA crashed with around 50 deaths. In 2012, 127 people died when a small private airline crashed on the way from Karachi to Islamabad. In 2010 an Airbus crashed before landing in the capital Islamabad, all 152 occupants were killed in the accident.