A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 99 passengers and 8 crew crashed into a residential area of Karachi minutes before landing, with many feared dead including residents of the area.
“The areoplane [flight PK 8303] first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,” witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, just a few kilometres short of the airport.
Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near the airport.
The jet, which tracking website FlightRadar24.com identified as a 15-year-old Airbus A320, took off from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi on Friday just as the country resuming flights.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,” the state carrier’s spokesman Abdullah H. Khan said in a video statement. “He was told from the final approach that both the runways were ready where he can land, but the pilot decided that he wanted to
Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah confimed during a media talk that two passengers had survived and were brought to hospitals in injured condition. Details of other passengers are awaited.
Shah said authorities were in the process of collecting data and that it would be too soon to give a conclusive figure on deaths and injuries.
Confirming the unfortunate incident, a senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the rescue operation was underway. “It is too early to say anything. We are collecting details of passengers.”
A PIA spokesperson, speaking to a private TV channel, said the aircraft lost communication with the ground staff at 2:37pm and crashed around a minute before landing.