GeneralNEWS

Dozens die as Pakistan plane crashes into homes

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane flying from Lahore has crashed into a residential area of Karachi, killing at least 57 people.

The pilots of flight PK8303, an Airbus A320 carrying 91 passengers and eight crew, were attempting to land at the city’s Jinnah International Airport.

The plane had attempted one landing but as it went round again lost its engines and issued a mayday call.

At least two passengers are confirmed to have survived the crash.

What caused the crash?

It has yet to be confirmed but here is what we know so far.

Flight PK8303 was approaching Jinnah International Airport at about 14:30 local time (09:30 GMT). It had been given permission to land but the pilots decided to abort and go around for a second attempt.

The reason is not yet known, but one civil aviation official told Reuters the plane may have been unable to lower its undercarriage. Images posted on social media appeared to show scorch marks under both engines, with no undercarriage visible on approach.

The crash came just days after Pakistan began allowing commercial flights to resume after a coronavirus lockdown.

Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages.

What happened at the crash scene?

The plane was only just short of the runway perimeter when it struck houses in the Model Colony residential area. TV footage showed rescue crews combing through debris strewn across the streets of the densely populated zone. A number of cars were set on fire.

An eyewitness told the BBC he had heard a massive sound and went outside his home. “Almost four houses were completely collapsed, there was so much fire and smoke,” he said. “They are almost my neighbours, I can’t tell you what a horrible thing it was.”

Another resident, Dr Kanwal Nazim, said she heard people screaming and saw clouds of black smoke rising from the three houses adjoining a mosque.

What do we know about the casualties?

Local health officials at two hospitals, the Jinnah and Civic hospitals, gave death tolls to the BBC and Pakistani media, adding up to 57 confirmed deaths. But it was not clear how many of the dead were passengers and how many residents on the ground.

Zafar Masud, president of the Bank of Punjab, was among the passengers who survived the crash, a provincial government spokesman said. The other known survivor was named as Muhammad Zubair.

A senior journalist at TV channel 24 News, Ansar Naqvi, was also listed on the passenger manifest.

Source: BBC

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