- The plane was only about a minute away from the airport.
- TV footage showed that many houses in the area had been damaged.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "shocked and saddened" by the news of the accident.
A Pakistan International Airlines plane has crashed in a residential area of Karachi. The PIA jet A-320 was en route from Lahore to Karachi with 91 passengers and eight crew members. Government officials have so far confirmed that at least 29 people have been killed and two are still alive.
However, many casualties are being feared because the rescue work is going on. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight took off from Lahore and was en route to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, one of the busiest airports in Pakistan. The plane was only about a minute away from the airport.
A photo shared on social media shows smoke billowing from a residential area in Karachi where the plane crashed. Rescuers arrived at the scene. Homes in the area have been damaged.
“The plane crashed in Karachi. We are trying to ascertain exactly how many passengers were on board. But initially there were 91 passengers and eight crew on board,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, a spokesman for the Pakistan Aviation Authority. The plane crashed in an area called Model Colony in Karachi, about two miles northeast of the airport.
TV footage showed that many houses in the area had been damaged. An eyewitness, Mohammad, said that he came out after hearing a loud noise. “About four houses have been completely destroyed. There is a lot of smoke and fire. They are my neighbors.” Another eyewitness, Nazim, said that he could hear people screaming. Black smoke billowed from three houses adjacent to a mosque.
Vehicles and ambulances are rushing to the rescue for the narrow road. Lots of people have gathered there. The Pakistani military says its rapid response troops have arrived at the scene to help with the rescue operation. A state of emergency has been declared in local hospitals.
Commercial aviation resumed in the country just a few days ago after the coronavirus shut it down. Many are now going to their homes in towns and villages in preparation for the Eid celebrations at the end of Ramadan.
The cause of the accident is still unknown. PIA chief executive Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik says the pilot told traffic control that there was a “mechanical fault” on the plane. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news of the accident, and promised an immediate investigation.
Pakistan’s news sources have obtained a record of the pilot’s conversation with traffic control and posted it on a monitoring website called liveatc.net. The pilot was heard saying in the conversation that they had “lost two engines.” A few seconds later, he was heard to say “May-day, May-day, May-day,” then all connections were disconnected.
Pakistan’s Aviation Safety Record
In 2010, a plane operated by the private airline, Airblue, crashed near Islamabad. All 152 passengers died in the accident. It was the worst accident in Pakistan’s aviation history. In 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Pakistan’s Bhoja Air crashed while landing in Rawalpindi in catastrophic weather. All 121 passengers and six crew members died. And in 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane caught fire while en route from northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing 48 people.