Pakistani passenger plane approaching Karachi airport crashes in residential area (VIDEOS)
The plane crashed in the populated Model Colony area located on the outskirts of the city, approximately two kilometers from Jinnah International Airport.
A spokesman for PIA said the A320 Airbus had 107 people on board, as quoted by Reuters. He explained there were 99 passengers and eight crew members.
The mayor of Karachi initially announced there were no survivors from the crash, but it later emerged that at least two people had made it out alive. Authorities have confirmed that at least 76 people have died in the disaster so far.
It is not yet clear how many fatalities there were among those affected on the ground, but rescue workers said around 15-20 have been helped out from under rubble, according to the local Geo news channel.
Pakistan's Dawn website reports that Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah has ordered the city's fire brigades to the crash site to begin rescue operations. The Pakistani army's quick reaction force has also reached the site to assist rescue workers.
The PIA spokesman said contact with the plane was lost at 2:37am, but that it was "too early to say" what had caused the crash.
According to Geo, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik confirmed that the pilot of the plane had been told both runways at the Karachi airport were ready for him to land, but a technical fault had caused him to perform a go-around before attempting to land.
Pakistan's independent safety investigations agency will inquire into the causes of the crash, Malik told reporters at a news conference.
Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and said an "immediate inquiry" into the crash will begin.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Twitter that he was “deeply aggrieved” over the “devastating” crash, while the country’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari called the crash a "national tragedy."
The crash comes only days after commercial flights began operating again, following the Covid-19 lockdown in the country.
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