KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight, on its way from Lahore to Karachi, crashed in the vicinity of Jinnah International Airport on Friday, according to Civil Aviation Authority sources.
PIA sources informed that 98 people were aboard the plane, including 91 passengers and seven flight crew.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, PIA flight PK-8303 from Lahore was about to land in Karachi when it crashed in the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir.
The plane reportedly developed a problem with its landing gear, which led to the unfortunate accident. CAA sources said that its communication was cut off with the plane a minute before it was supposed to land.
The captain of the plane made a Mayday call just before the crash, and according to the audio played on Geo News, the pilot can be clearly heard saying that the ‘plane lost its engines’.
Troops from the Pakistan Army’s Quick Reaction Force and Pakistan Rangers Sindh arrived at the crash site shortly after to assist the civil administration in relief and rescue efforts.
Rescue officials are reportedly facing difficulty in rescue operations as the streets are narrow and a huge crowd has gathered near the site of the incident.
Several houses were damaged in the area where the plane crashed.
Black smoke could be seen from afar at the crash site.
‘Too early to point out the cause of crash’
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said that the airline was receiving information in real-time. He said that Air Marshal Arshad Malik was reaching Karachi in two hours to assess the situation.
He said that it was premature to point out any technical fault in the plane and an independent institution will carry out an investigation to ascertain the cause of the crash.
Hafeez said that the PIA would hold a detailed press conference to share the details of the crash soon.
Rescue sources said that 15-20 persons have been recovered from the crash site. The body of a 5-year-old was also found from the site. “Due to the rush, we are encountering difficulties in carrying out relief operations,” said SSP Malir. “People should avoid gathering at the accident site,” he added.
PIA’s Lahore-Karachi flight PK-8303 crashed on a residential area near Karachi airport a short while ago. Fire fighters trying to control fire in an affected house👇🏼 🔥 ✈️ #planecrash #BREAKING pic.twitter.com/LEg1roPjol
— Danyal Gilani (@DanyalGilani) May 22, 2020
Senior journalist among those on board the ill-fated plane
Senior journalist Ansar Naqvi, who used to work for The News and was currently working for Channel 24 as its Director Programming, also died in the crash.
The PIA has released a passenger list, according to which 51 men, 31 women, and nine children were aboard the PK-8303 flight.
Fateh Ilahi, Raheem Zain, Kashif Shabbir Ahmad, Rizwan Ahmad, and Bilal Ahmad are names of some of the passengers. Yasmin Iqbani, Farwa Ali, Armaghan Ali, Fauzia Arjumand, Mohammad S Aslam, Mohammad Ataullah, and Rai Ataullah were also on board the airplane.
COAS offers condolence over the loss of lives
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa condoled over the loss of lives in the plane crash.
The army chief directed the provision of full assistance to the civil administration in rescue and relief efforts.
‘Shocked and saddened’
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he is “shocked and saddened” by the crash.
He said he is in touch with PIA Ceo Arshad Malik who is on his way to Karachi, adding “this is the priority right now”.
The premier promised that an inquiry will immediately be instituted. He extended “prayers and condolences” to the families of the deceased.
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. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020