Pilots Said Engines Lost Power Before Airbus Crashed in Karachi

A Pakistani airliner crashed into a residential neighborhood of Karachi, killing all but two people on board after pilots reported losing power from both the engines as the Airbus SE A320 jet prepared for landing.

The crash killed 97 travelers on board the state-run Pakistan International Airlines flight, according to Meeran Yousuf, spokeswoman for the provincial health ministry. Two other passengers, including Zafar Masud, president of the Bank of Punjab, survived.

“There was fire everywhere, and everyone was screaming after the crash. I opened my seatbelt, and headed toward the light,” Muhammad Zubair, another survivor, who was sitting in the eighth row, said on a local television broadcast.

Eid ul-Fitr

The crash happened as the nation went into holidays to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, the annual Muslim festival. It also resulted in casualties on the ground as the plane plunged into a residential neighborhood, affecting 25 houses.

These houses have been cleared and their residents have been sheltered at various places, Pakistan army’s media wing called the Inter Services Public Relations said in a Twitter update on rescue work.

Flight PK 8303 from Lahore was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, spokesman of the Civil Aviation Authority, said in an updated tally. Television footage showed cars and homes on fire in the neighborhood near the airport in the nation’s commercial hub. The A320 narrow-body jet first entered service in 2004, and was operated by PIA since 2014, Airbus said.

It’s the second plane crash for the state-owned carrier in less than four years. Pakistan International’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR 42 turboprop killed 47 people.

A probe into Friday’s incident would be conducted soon, the nation’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter.


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Gilead In Deal With 5 Cos. To Make And Sell Remdesivir In 127 Countries

Gilead Sciences Inc. said it has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic drug makers to manufacture remdesivir, its experimental COVID-19 drug, for distribution in 127 countries.

Foster City, California-based Gilead signed the licensing deals with five generic drug makers based in India and Pakistan to further expand the supply of remdesivir.

The five companies are India-based Cipla Ltd., Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences, and Mylan as well as Pakistan-based Ferozsons Laboratories.

The drug will be distributed in 127 countries consisting of nearly all low-income and lower-middle-income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries “that face significant obstacles to healthcare access,” Gilead said.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 4.38 million people globally and claimed at least 294,600 lives till now. Gilead has said its overarching goal is to make remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.

Under the licensing agreements, the five generic drug makers have a right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process for remdesivir to enable them to scale up production more quickly. The licensees will be able to set their own prices for the generic drugs they produce.

Gilead noted that the licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization declares that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a global health crisis, or until a pharmaceutical product other than remdesivir or a vaccine is approved, whichever is earlier.

Remdesivir is one of many drugs being tested as a potential treatment for severely and moderately ill COVID-19 patients.

On May 1, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.

In clinical trials, intravenously administered remdesivir has been shown to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients.

Gilead has set a goal of producing at least 500,000 rounds of remdesivir by October, one million rounds by the end of this year and millions more in 2021, if required. These targets are based on a ten-day treatment course.

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