PIA flight crashes near airport in Karachi, killing 97

Only two passengers survived the plane crash

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Lahore crashed near Quaid-e-Azam International Airport in Karachi. The exact cause of the crash is unknown, but it is suggested that the Airbus 320 developed problems in at least one of the engines. The pilot sent out a mayday signal before the crash.

Health officials have confirmed that 97 people have been confirmed dead, while two survived the crash. The A320 Airbus was carrying 91 passengers and 8 crew members from Lahore to Karachi on PK 8303, said PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez.

The flight, which had about 99 passengers and flight crew on board, crashed into Model Colony. According to the report, 4-5 houses have been severely damaged. Rescue workers immediately arrived looking for survivors as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames.

Survivor’s story

The two survivors include Bank of Punjab CEO Zafar Masud and an engineer identified as Muhammad Zubair.

Zubair, who suffered only minor injuries, said the plane attempted one landing and then crashed few minutes later. “We had no idea that the plane was about to crash. It was flying in smooth manner,” he said.

Zubair said he lost consciousness following the crash. Later he “could hear screams of children and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see anything just heard their screams” he told local media. Few moments later, he opened his seatbelt saw some light. “I went in that direction and jumped about 3 meters to call for help.”

Pakistan and world leaders express sorrow over plane crash

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed shock on the accident and called for an immediate inquiry into the matter.

Khan also said that he is in contact with the CEO of the national airline. “Prayers and condolences go to families of the deceased,” he said.

World leaders are also sending messages of condolences and sorrow in the wake of the crash. Head of states and officials from Turkey, China, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan conveyed their heartfelt condolences on behalf of their respective governments and people.

Safety Investigation Board to conduct inquiry

The Safety Investigation Board (SIB), an independent organization, will conduct an independent inquiry into the plane crash incident. “The [state-owned] Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will not participate in the probe … and would stand answerable before the inquiry board,” PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik said. PM Imran Khan has ordered an immediate inquiry into the plane crash.

Govt to compensate families of crash victims

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced Rs1 million to compensate the families of those killed in the plane crash while the two survivors would be given Rs500,000 each.

What we know so far:

  • 97 confirmed dead. 2 survived the crash
  • Pilot communicated a technical difficulty to the air traffic control before the crash
  • Plane crashed a few hundred feet away from the runway
  • 19 victims have been identified
  • 25 houses affected
  • Black box found
  • Independent inquiry ordered
  • Preliminary report to be made public within 3 months

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