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Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane crashes in Karachi

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with around 100 passengers and crew crashed on Friday in a residential area of the southern city of Karachi, with many feared dead, officials said.

The state carrier said flight PK 8303 had crashed with 99 passengers and eight crew members on board, though civil aviation officials said the total for both may be 99.

The pilot relayed he had technical problems.




“The pilot in his Mayday call had said that he was experiencing technical problems. He had been told both landing strips were available for his use but he preferred to use the go around landing route, we are looking into the technical issue. Our prayers for the lives that have been lost,” airline spokesperson Abdullah Khan said.

Unverified reports claim that the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing.

Geo TV broadcaster showed crowds near the scene, which appeared to be a densely populated area, and ambulances trying to make their way through.



Black smoke billowed and several cars were on fire.

 

The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops had reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration bodies.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his shock over the Karachi crash. “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.,” he wrote on Twitter.

Flights had resumed in Pakistan just over a week ago after being grounded for two months, as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The crash comes as the country prepares to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid al-Fitr, with many traveling home to their families in towns and villages.

READ: ‘Sir, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Pakistan 8303’: Flight audio reveals terrifying last moments