Plane Crash in Pakistan’s Karachi Kills 97, Two Survive Mishap

While the exact cause of the crash is unclear, initial media reports suggest a technical snag and engine failure.

Updated23 May 2020, 05:55 AM IST
India
3 min read

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

Video Producer: Hera Khan

At least 97 people have died and two have survived after a Pakistan Airlines flight crashed in a residential area near the Karachi Airport on Friday, 22 May, news agency AFP reported.

All passengers and crew had been accounted for and the bodies of those killed had been recovered from the crash site, with 19 of them identified, the report quoted the Sindh Health Ministry as saying. According to Dawn news, the two survivors are in a stable condition.

The A-320 Airbus Flight 8203, said to be carrying 99 people, crashed in Model Colony, a residential neighbourhood located around two miles north-east of the Jinnah International Airport.

While the exact cause of the crash remains unclear, multiple preliminary media reports suggest a technical snag and engine failure.

‘We Have Lost Engine’

The Associated Press accessed a transmission of the pilot’s final conversation with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, which indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt.

“We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,” a pilot can be heard saying.

“Confirm your attempt on belly,” the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.

“Sir - mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot said before the transmission ended.

The aircraft had reportedly lost contact with the air traffic control around 2:30 pm.

PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik, who left for Karachi, told Dawn news that the pilot told the control room that there was a technical issue and he decided to go around rather than land even though two runways were ready for landing.

Eye-Witnesses Recall Horror

“The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,” witness Shakeel Ahmed told Reuters. Eyewitness Mohammed Uzair Khan 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,” he said.

According to Dawn, Director Programming 24 News Ansar Naqvi and Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masood were among the passengers. Masood's family had confirmed that he survived the crash.

Pak PM Imran Khan Assures Support

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed grief over the crash and expressed condolences to the families of the deceased.

“Shocked and saddened by the PIA crash. Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi and with the rescue and relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers and condolences go to families of the deceased,” he tweeted.

PM Modi Expresses Condolences

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too took to Twitter to offer condolences.

“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 said.

Several people took to Twitter to share videos and pictures from the site. The area can be seen engulfed in thick smoke emanating from the crash site.

Relief and Rescue Operations

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) tweeted to say that the Pakistan Army Quick Reaction Force and Sindh Pakistan Rangers were sent to the site for relief and rescue efforts.

The Pakistan Army Aviation helicopters have also been flown in for damage assessment and rescue operations.

The Minister of Health & Population Welfare had declared emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi due to the crash, Dawn news reported, quoting Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator to the Sindh health minister.

(With inputs from AFP, Dawn News, Express.co.uk, The Associated Press, Reuters and BBC.)

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Published: 22 May 2020, 10:26 AM IST
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