PIA plane crashes in residential area near Karachi airport, 73 killed, many escaped death

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 crashed on residential area of Karachi killing some 73 dozens others wounded. The ill-fated plane Airbus- A 320 have 100 people on board.

The plane crashed at about 2:39pm on Friday at an residential area on Model Colony area in Malir, approximately 4 kilometers away from the airport.

Spokeswoman for the Sindh Health Department confirmed the casualties of 73 people saying that 73 people have been died of the deadly plane crash. Dozens injured were rushed to different hospitals of the provincial metropolis, Meeran Yousuf the spokeswoman added.

As darkness fell, crews worked under floodlights to recover bodies and a portable morgue was set up. Two passengers miraculously survived, said Meeran Yousaf, Sindh provincial Health Department spokeswoman.

The ill-fated plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sparking an explosion and killing several people on the ground. It crashed in a narrow alley in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony between houses smashed by its wings.

Police in protective masks struggled to clear away crowds amid the smoke and dust so ambulances and firetrucks could reach the crash site.

Images aired on television showed the Pakistan International Airlines flight had smashed into a residential area, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.

In audio of conversation between captain of the ill-fated plane and control tower were aired different telvision networks, in which pilot could be heard saying that they have ‘lost two engines’. Few seconds later he gives ‘mayday’ call.

According to witnesses, four houses have been damaged in the incident. Five dead bodies have also been retrieved.

PIA spokesperson confirmed the plane crash. He said information is being collected at the moment. Ninety nine passengers and six crew members along with two captains were onboard the plane.

It was an Airbus 320 which has capacity to carry around 180 passengers, however, number of passengers were kept at 50% capacity limit to ensure social distancing measures, the PIA spokesperson said.

According to the PIA officials, passengers included 51 male, 31 female and nine children. Chairman Punjab Bank Zafar Masood, senior journalist Ansar Naqvi and model Zara Abid were also travelling in the same flight.

The crash occurred just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded during a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan has a chequered aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.

In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote northern to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.

An eye-witness said that the aircraft came dangerously before crashing. “It hit a house first and then crashed. We do not yet know how many people have been killed on ground”.

He said that the crash site is densley populated with mostly two to three storey houses. “Thick black smoke is billowing from the spot and some area is also on fire. Some houses have also damaged,” he added.

The pilot of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK 8303 is heard saying he has lost both engines and then “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,” the international distress message in the final moments of the conversation with the air-traffic controllers

A PIA official said that in the last conversation with the control tower, the pilot talked about technical problem including the loss of both the engines.

A recording of conversation between the airport control tower and the pilot just before the crash confirmed engine failure. “I have lost one engine, May Day, May Day,” said the pilot. The control tower informed the pilot that both the runways were available for landing.” Then the tower lost the contact.

The rescuers have recovered the black box of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK 8303 which crashed into a residential area of Karachi, with many feared dead.

According to sources, the plane’s black box, which contains cockpit audio recordings and technical flight data, has been recovered by investigators.

Sources said that the black box has been handed over Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Two passengers who miraculously survived the crash that is feared to have killed almost everyone on board escaped with broken bones and scratches, say family members.

Bank of Punjab (BOP) CEO Zafar Masud being carried away from a large section of burning wreckage in a narrow street that is buried under debris. Another passenger was identified as Mohammad Zubair, who was paid a visit by Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani.

Read more: PIA plane crashes in residential area near Karachi airport; 91, passengers, 8 crew on board

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