Pakistan International Airlines carrying 99 people crashed Friday into a residential neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Karachi. In the final moments before the crash, recorded on a flight tracking website, one of the pilots can be heard telling the Air Traffic Controller that they had lost both the engines, before sending the international distress message, “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday”.
The PIA flight PK-8303 went down in a densely populated residential area-Jinnah Garden area near Malir ‘s Model Colony-just outside Jinnah International Airport. “The plane hit a mobile tower first and crashed through houses,” an eyewitness was quoted as saying.
There are fire on the wreckage and many houses in the city, visuals from Pakistan media shows. Smoke plumes could be seen billowing in the sky as ambulances were trying to get through their way.
The crash comes just days after Pakistan began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded due to the lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the crash would initiate immediate inquiry. “Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. I am in contact with PIA CEO Arshad Malik who left for Karachi & the rescue & relief teams on the ground as this is the focus right now. Immediate investigation will be initiated. Prayers & condolences go to the deceased ‘s families,” he tweeted.
Karachi and Lahore are about 1,020 km apart and it takes under two hours for a flight to cover the distance.