Dozens feared dead after Pakistan plane crash

By Patrick Smith and Mushtaq Yusufzai

A passenger plane carrying dozens of passengers crashed into a residential area of Pakistan‘s largest city, Karachi, early Friday, minutes before it was due to land.

The Pakistan International Airlines A-320 plane was flying from Lahore to Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew, according to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that dead bodies and injured people were being recovered from nearby houses damaged in the crash.

“At least three houses have been demolished, while around 10 to 12 are reportedly damaged. At least six fire engines are on the spot while more are arriving as per the needs,” he said.

Dr. Semi Jamal, spokesperson for the Jinnah Hospital in Karachi, said it had received five bodies and six injured people, although he did not confirm how they sustained their injuries.

Zafar Masood, the chief executive of the Bank of Punjab, was aboard the flight when it came down but survived with “multiple injuries and fractures,” a spokesperson for the bank said.

Unverified footage circulating on social media showed black plumes of smoke rising from a row of houses in Karachi.

The government of Sindh, the regional province that includes Karachi, has declared a state of emergency in all major hospitals in the city due to the plane crash. The plane crashed in a residential area called Model Colony

Flight-tracking service Flightradar24 said that the 15-year-old aircraft attempted to land at 9.34 a.m., but the landing was aborted at 275 feet and it climbed back to 3,175 feet. The plane’s signal was lost at 9.40 a.m. while flying at 525 feet.

Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote in a tweet he was “shocked and saddened” by the crash.

A Pakistani army spokesperson said specialist rescue teams had been flown in from the northern city of Rawalpindi. They added that military ambulances were also aiding the rescue operation.

Domestic flights have only recently restarted after being grounded in Pakistan due to the coronavirus pandemic. International flights are not due to restart until May 31.