Pakistan International Airlines plane crashes near Karachi killing dozens

22 May 2020, 12:42

Rescue workers and people gather near the site after a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Karachi
Rescue workers and people gather near the site after a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Karachi. Picture: Getty
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A passenger plane with 98 people on board, belonging to state-run Pakistani International Airlines has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi, an aviation official said.

Officials said there were at least two survivors from the plane, and it was unknown how many people on the ground were hurt, with at least five houses destroyed.

Local reports said the state-run airline's Airbus A320 was travelling from Pakistan's capital Lahore.

The state carrier said flight PK 8303 arriving from the eastern city of Lahore had crashed with 99 passengers and eight crew members on board, though civil aviation officials said the total for both could be 98.

"The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem," PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement. "It is a very tragic incident."

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A spokesperson for the Pakistani Armed Forces said Army Aviation helicopters helped with "damage assessment and rescue efforts. "

Prime Minister, Imran Khan, said he was "shocked & saddened by the PIA crash."

He confirmed he was in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, adding an immediate inquiry will now commence.

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Local television reports showed smoke coming from the direction of the airport and video of the plane flying low over a residential area seemed to show flames shooting from one of the engines.

Ambulances were on their way to the airport and there were reports of some injuries, possibly residents on the ground.

The flight typically takes an hour and a half to travel from Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's most populous Punjab province, to Karachi.

Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on November 1.

PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted on the plane and it was "fully airworthy and meets all the safety" standards.

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