Pakistan plane crash: Jet carrying 107 people crashes into houses near airport

  • 7 days   ago
Pakistan plane crash: Jet carrying 107 people crashes into houses near airport
Many deaths are feared after a plane carrying 107 passengers and crew crashed into houses and exploded into flames after the captain reported an engine failure and declared a mayday.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) jet was on its final approach to Karachi's main airport when it went down in a residential area near Model Colony about a minute before it was due to land.
As many as 30 people were pulled out of the rubble and the body of a five-year-old child was recovered from the site, local media reported.
Footage shows an apocalyptic scene with fires burning in a narrow and heavily populated street that was filled with debris from the wrecked Airbus A320 as well as buildings that were damaged and cars that were totalled.
A major search and rescue operation was underway to find any survivors as a wall of choking black smoke filled the area.
State-run PIA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said 99 passengers and eight crew members were on board the plane.
There was confirmed news on the fate of the passengers or crew or whether anyone on the ground was injured or killed in the crash, which happened at about 2.45pm local time on Friday.
Flight PK8303 was on a domestic journey from the eastern city of Lahore to the southern city of Karachi when it crashed.
In a chilling final conversation with air traffic control, the captain said the plane had "lost" one of its engines and was given clearance to land on one of the runways as an emergency.
The pilot then repeatedly said "mayday" and was given clearance to land on either runway moments before the aircraft crashed.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sources said the captain reported a technical fault and the plane disappeared from radar shortly before it was due to land at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, 24 News reported.
CAA sources told News One that communication with the plane was cut off one minute before it was scheduled to touch down.
A spokesman for Pakistan's national airline said: "The plane PK8303 with 99 passengers and eight crew members has crashed."
PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement: "The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem.
"It is a very tragic incident."
A senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was to early to determine the cause.
The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops have reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration.
Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, of Pakistan's Air Force, expressed grief over the crash and said his personnel were on standby to help the airline.
Local TV station Geo showed crowds near the scene which appeared to be a densely populated area and ambulances having difficulty making their way through.
It also showed black smoke billowing from the scene and debris as fires burned in the street.
A number of cars were on fire.
Local residents joined the rescue effort as firefighters tried to extinguish the fires.
There were no confirmed reports of deaths or injuries.
The crash occurred at a time when many airlines around the world have dramatically scaled back flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PIA, the country's flag carrier, has suspended international flights until May 31.
Many domestic flights have also been halted.
Karachi's Jinnah International Airport is the airline's main hub.
A number of crashes and serious incidents have occurred in the airline's history.
Most recently, all 47 on board an ATR 42–500 were killed when the plane crashed in Havelian on a domestic flight from Chitral to Islamabad in December 2016.
Most of PIA's planes were banned from flying within the European Union in 2007 due to safety concerns over its ageing fleet.
PIA is no longer named on the EU blacklist.