Aviation

At least 97 dead in Pakistani plane crash

At least 97 people have died after a plane crashed into a residential area in Karachi, Pakistan over the weekend.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has confirmed flight PK 8303 from Lahore to Karachi crashed near Karachi Airport around 2:30 pm on Friday, local time, with 91 passengers and seven crew members on board.

According to BBC News, two passengers had survived the accident, which occurred while the flight was attempting to land at Karachi Airport and lost its engines.

The plane was not far from the runway when it crashed into houses in the Model Colony residential area.

It is not yet clear how many of those killed were residents and how many were passengers.

Muhammad Zubair, one of the surviving passengers, told BBC News of his ordeal.

“I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see any people – just hear their screams,” he said.

“I opened my seatbelt and saw some light – I went towards the light. I had to jump down about 10ft (3m) to get to safety.”

The other known survivor, Zafar Masood, president of the Bank of Punjab, sustained only fractures but was “conscious and responding well”, the bank told ABC News.

A senior civil aviation official told ABC News it appeared the Airbus A-320 was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault, but it was still too early to determine the cause.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister posted to Twitter that an immediate inquiry would be instituted.

“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,” he said.

“Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.”

A spokesperson for PIA told Geo News the Blackbox for the flight was recovered on Saturday and was being handed over to the inquiry board.

Geo News also reported that the pilot of flight PK 8303 had ignored several warnings from air traffic control concerning the plane’s height and speed as it approached for landing.

A report from air traffic control seen by the outlet said the pilot was warned three times to lower the plane’s altitude but he responded that he was satisfied and would “handle the situation”.

Airbus has confirmed it is providing full technical assistance to French and Pakistani authorities in charge of the investigation, as well as to PIA and engine manufacturer CFM.


Featured image: iStock/Ricky Deacon

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