A passenger plane operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) crashed in southern Pakistan on Friday. There were around 100 people on board – they should all have died in the accident. The plane was approaching the Pakistani metropolis of Karachi when it descended on a residential area.
A spokesman for the national airline confirmed the crash shortly after the accident. “The PK 8303 aircraft with 99 passengers and eight crew members on board crashed,” said the spokesman. At first, however, there was confusion about the exact number of people on board. According to the latest information from the airline, a total of 98 people were in the machine. According to the Mayor of Karachi, none of the inmates probably survived the crash. A confirmation is still pending. The Airbus A-320 operated by PIA was 15 years old and on its way from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi.
According to the aviation safety site JACDEC, the captain had aborted an initial attempt to land and started a second approach to the airport. Eyewitnesses also reported at least one failed attempt to land in advance. The pilot reported technical problems with the machine to the tower, said PIA chief Arshad Malik. A senior civil aviation official told Reuters that the plane was unable to retract the wheels due to a technical error. However, the reason for this is still open.
Black smoke over residential area
Video recordings showed a dense cloud of smoke over the scene of the accident, which is apparently a residential area on the outskirts of Karachi. Television pictures showed how injuries were pulled out of the ruins of collapsed buildings. At least 15 residents of damaged buildings were taken to Karachi Jinnah Hospital, where a state of emergency was declared, said doctor Seem in Jamali.
The Pakistani army announced that its rapid reaction force and paramilitary units had arrived at the scene of the accident. They supported the civil administration in the relief and rescue operations. The television showed ambulances trying to get to the crash site.