Home > News > world > PIA flight with 99 aboard crashes in Karachi suburb

A Pakistan International Airlines Corp. flight with 99 people aboard crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Karachi as it approached for landing, setting off an urgent rescue effort amid smoke and debris.

At least two passengers on the Airbus SE A320 jet survived the impact, Sindh government spokesman Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet. One of them was Zafar Masud, president at Bank of Punjab, he said.

The injured were being taken to local hospitals, while some people remained trapped under debris, local officials said on Pakistan’s GEO TV. There was no immediate word on the number of casualties, which included people on the ground when the plane went down after reporting engine trouble.

Flight PK 8303 from Lahore was carrying 91 passengers and 8 crew, the Civil Aviation Authority said in an updated tally. Television footage showed cars and homes on fire in the neighbourhood near the airport in the nation’s commercial hub. The A320 narrow-body jet first entered service in 2004, and was operated by PIA since 2014, Airbus said.

The pilots in Friday’s crash reported losing power from both engines, according to a recording from LiveATC.net, which collects audio feeds from air-traffic controllers.

“Sir, we have lost engines," the pilot said to a controller, according to the LiveATC recording.

About 30 seconds later, the pilot again radioed a distress call: “Mayday. Mayday. Mayday."

It’s the second plane crash for the state-owned carrier in less than four years. Pakistan International’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR 42 turboprop killed 47 people.

“Although the public sector national carrier’s administration has been mismanaged for decades, this never reflected the engineering competence," said Burzine Waghmar, a member of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS University of London. “PIA’s maintenance and engineering is second to none."

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Twitter said he’s in touch with the chief executive officer and that an investigation would be conducted soon. While the country’s army tweeted that troops had reached the site to conduct relief-and-rescue efforts.

The plane damaged as many as 20 houses, Ahmed Edhi, spokesman for rescue agency Edhi, said by phone from the accident site.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condoled the loss of lives in a plane crash in Pakistan and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of life due to a plane crash in Pakistan. Our condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishing speedy recovery to those injured," he wrote on Twitter.

PTI contributed to this story.

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