PIA A320 crashes near Karachi airport; 13 bodies recovered
Published: 22 May 2020 Updated: 23 May 2020
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane, with an estimated 98 people onboard, crashed in Karachi's Model Colony near Jinnah International Airport on Friday.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez confirmed the crash and added that the A320 Airbus was carrying 90 passengers and 8 crew members from Lahore to Karachi on PK 8303. Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near the airport.
“The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,” witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, just a few kilometres short of the airport, according to Reuters.
Director Programming 24 News Ansar Naqvi and Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masood were among the passengers. Masood's family has confirmed that he survived the crash.
Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah confimed during a media talk that two passengers had survived and were brought to hospitals in injured condition. Details of other passengers are awaited.
Saad Edhi, spokesperson of the Edhi Foundation, said they have shifted 13 bodies from the plane to different hospitals. Around 25-30 injured people, who are residents of the area, have also been brought to the hospital.
He said nothing concrete could be said about the number of deceased and survivors as of now.
Soon after the crash, Sindh Minister of Health & Population Welfare declared an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi.
Speaking to the media outside Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, health minister Azra Pechuho said that it was still to early to ascertain the number of people that had been injured in the crash.
"Eleven bodies have been brought to the hospital and six injured. Out of the injured, four are stable and two are burns cases."
She added that officials were currently in the process of identifying the deceased in order to inform their families.
"We don't know how many are injured and how many are dead. I am visiting hospitals [...] we were already in an emergency situation due to Covid-19 so doctors were alert. We have also alerted surgical units," she said.
The plane crashed only moments before its expected landing. A transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt, reported AP.
“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.