An Airbus jet belonging to a Pakistan International Airlines with 99 people on board reportedly crashed into residential buildings in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday afternoon as it approaches the airport.
According to Reuters, two people were said to have survived while others are feared dead. Smoke billowed from the scene where flight PK 8303 came down at about 2:45 p.m. (0945 GMT). Twisted sections of fuselage lay in the rubble of multi-storey buildings as ambulances rushed through chaotic crowds.
The Sindh provincial government said that among the survivor is Zafar Masood, President of the Bank of Punjab. The bank said he had suffered some fractures but was conscious and responding well.
Executive director at the nearby Jinnah Hospital, Seemin Jamali, said 17 dead bodies and six wounded people had been brought in. There were no estimates of casualties on the ground.
“The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,” witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, a few kilometres short of the airport.
The Airbus A320 was flying from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi in the south just as Pakistan was resuming domestic flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the aircraft tracking website FlightRadar24.
Recall that this is the month of the Muslim Festival of Eid, and this crash happened on the eve of the festival when Pakistanis traditionally travel to visit relatives
One person familiar with the investigation said that the plane was on its second attempt to land after cancelling a previous one in a routine manoeuvre known as a go-around.
Reuters reported that according to a recording posted on liveatc.net, a widely respected aviation monitoring website, the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines..,
“We are returning back, sir, we have lost engines,” a man was heard saying in a recording released by the website. The controller freed up both the airport’s runways but moments later the man called “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”.
There was no further communication from the plane, according to the tape, which could not immediately be authenticated.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,” said the state carrier’s spokesman, Abdullah H. Khan.