A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane Airbus A-320 flying from Lahore with 98 passengers on-board, has crashed at a distance of merely 4 Kilometers from the runway into a residential area of Karachi.
The pilots of flight PK8303, an Airbus A320 carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members, were attempting to land at the city’s Jinnah International Airport when the pilot reported a problem with the landing protocol. Though given the permission to land, the pilot decided to went round again losing both its engines with the flight issuing a mayday call.
At least two passengers are confirmed to have survived the crash.
One, Zafar Masaud, CEO of the bank of Punjab and the other, Muhammad Zubair, has been describing his ordeal, recalling how he lost consciousness then woke up to smoke and screaming after luckily escaping from the plane airborne.
Purported audio of the conversation between air traffic control and a pilot for the second attempt was published by Pakistani media outlets, in which the pilot is heard saying the plane has “lost engines”. An air traffic controller asks whether it is going to carry out a “belly landing”, to which the pilot replies “mayday, mayday, mayday” – the final communication from the plane.
The survivor, Muhammad Zubair, said there were 10-15 minutes between the first attempt at landing and the crash. “No-one was aware that the plane was about to crash; they were flying the plane in a smooth manner,” he said.
Rescue operation was carried out till late night with various security forced aiding in the rescue process, though the premises of the crash is based on congested streets causing delay in rescue.
Footages show various houses and cars damaged on the impact with the area being evacuated.
PIA said the plane had joined the fleet in 2014 and passed its annual airworthiness inspection last November.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ordered immediate inquiry into the crash of Pakistan International Airlines’ aircraft, resulting in loss of several lives.
“Shocked and saddened by the PIA crash…Immediate inquiry will be instituted,” the prime minister said in a tweet after the A-320 passenger plane of national flag career from Lahore enroute Karachi crashed this afternoon.
The prime minister said he was in touch with PIA’s CEO Arshad Malik and also with the rescue and relief teams on ground.
He expressed deep grief over the loss of lives in the air crash.
“Prayers and condolences go to families of deceased,” he added.