97 dead, 2 survive in Pakistan plane crash: Photos show scale of devastation, horror moments
Eyewitnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in the residential area near the airport. Seconds before the crash, the pilot told reportedly air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines.
Ninety-seven people were killed and two passengers miraculously survived a deadly crash after a Pakistan International Airlines plane with 99 travellers on board plunged into a crowded residential area near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Friday.
Flight PK-8303 from Lahore crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, minutes before its landing in Karachi, officials said. Eleven people on the ground were injured.
Eyewitnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in the residential area near the airport.
Sindh health officials said that 97 people have been confirmed dead, while two survived the crash, Dawn News reported on Saturday. Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator for the Sindh Health Minister, identified the survivors as Muhammad Zubair and Zafar Masood, who is the president of Bank of Punjab.
The daily said that both the survivors are in stable condition and 19 victims have been identified, the report said.
‘ALL I COULD SEE WAS FIRE’
Survivor Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again.
After around 10 more minutes of flying, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to make a second attempt, then crashed as he approached the runway, Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi.
"All I could see around was smoke and fire," he added. "I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see any people – just hear their screams.
"I opened my seat belt and saw some light – I went towards the light. I had to jump down about 10 feet to get to safety.”
A third person, who had earlier been identified as a survivor from the plane, was later confirmed to be a resident of the area where the plane crashed. She was among the 11 persons, who were injured when the plane crashed into the residential area, damaging several houses, the report added.
Meeran Yousuf said that the majority of the injured were women, as it was time for Friday prayers when the crash occurred. She added that all the injured residents were in stable condition.
Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Welfare Trust said that around 25 to 30 residents whose houses were damaged by the plane have also been taken to the hospital, mostly with burn wounds.
The aircraft wings during the crash landing hit the houses in the residential colony before crashing down.
"At least 25 houses have been damaged in this incident,” Edhi said.
‘WE HAVE LOST BOTH ENGINES’
Smoke billowed from the scene where flight PK 8303 came down at about 2.45 p.m. (0945 GMT) on Friday. Twisted fuselage lay in the rubble of multi-storey buildings as ambulances rushed through chaotic crowds.
The crash happened on the eve of the Muslim Eid festival, when Pakistanis travel to visit relatives.
"The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses," witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, a few kilometres short of the airport.
Seconds before the crash, the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines, according to a recording posted on liveatc.net, a respected aviation monitoring website.
"We are returning back, sir, we have lost engines," a man was heard saying in a recording released by the website. The controller freed up both the airport's runways but moments later the man called, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!".
The cause of the crash is yet to be confirmed. Aviation safety experts say air crashes typically have multiple causes, and that it is too early to understand them within the first hours or days.
“The real cause of the mishap will be known after inquiry, which will be free and fair and it will be provided to the media,” said PIA chief executive Arshad Malik. He said that the entire operation will take two to three days to complete.
Pakistan has set up a four-member board of inquiry to know the cause of the crash.