KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft with more than 90 passengers and eight crew members on board crashed in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport on Friday.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials confirmed the national flag carrier’s flight PK-8303 that was flying from Lahore to Karachi crashed in Model Colony. The plane crashed moments before expected landing at the Karachi airport.
The aircraft had 99 passengers and eight crew members on board, the officials said. Eleven bodies had been shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) from the crash site, according to officials at the health facility. Several injured had also been brought to the hospital. Two bodies and three injured had been taken to Civil Hospital.
According to the Sindh health department, 92 people have died as a result of the crash. It is not yet known how many of the deceased were passengers and how many were residents of the area where the crash took place.
Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masood who was among the flyers was said to have survived the crash. Speaking to the media outside the JPMC, Health Minister Azra Pechuho confirmed eleven dead bodies have been brought to the hospital along with six injured. She said officials are currently ascertaining the identity of the deceased.
A PIA spokesperson said the ill-fated plane lost contact with the Air Traffic Control at about 2:37pm. The pilot of the plane in his last message said that there was a technical fault. Several houses were damaged as the plane hit them while crashing.
Television footage showed thick plumes of smokes rising from the crash site. Ambulances and rescue officials arrived at the scene in no time as a heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies cordoned off the incident site.
According to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Army Quick Reaction Force and Pakistan Rangers Sindh troops reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside the civil administration.
It said the army’s aviation helicopters have flown to the crash site for damage assessment and rescue efforts as urban search and rescue teams are also being dispatched to the site for rescue efforts. An emergency has been declared in all major hospitals of the port city due to the incident.
Update #PIA Incident:
Pak Army Aviation helicopters flown for damage assessment and rescue efforts.
Urban Search & Rescue Teams are being sent on site for rescue efforts.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) May 22, 2020
Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “On PM’s directions, all emergency services & resources mobilized, evacuation in progress.” Our heart goes out to all families of on board passengers of the ill fated PIA plane that just crashed close to Karachi Airport.”
Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the police chief and Karachi commissioner to ensure all possible relief operations at the crash site.
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed shock and sadness over the loss of precious lives in the incident and ordered the authorities to speed up rescue efforts.
“I am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now,” he said, ordering an immediate inquiry into the crash.
In a tweet, President Dr Arif Alvi expressed sorrow over the incident and prayed for the victims. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, offering condolences over the loss of precious lives in the tragic PIA plane crash, said he shares the grief of bereaved families in this difficult time. He issued directives for provision of full assistance to the civil administration in rescue and relief effort.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan expressed grief over the tragic air crash of PIA Airbus 320 aircraft. He said that PAF stands by PIA at this difficult time and extends all-out support in Rescue Operation, according to a PAF press release.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed shock and deep grief at the PIA flight crash on a populated area near Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi this afternoon. In a statement, the PPP chairman urged for urgent rescue operations at the crash site and sympathized with those whose loved ones were on board besides offering prayers. NNI