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.
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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