AFP: A Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore, with 99 passengers and eight crew on board, crashed near the Karachi airport, just a minute before the Airbus A320 was to land this afternoon. There are no reports on the number of casualties yet.
The PIA flight PK-8303 went down in what looks like a densely populated residential area – Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir – just short of the Jinnah International Airport. The crash comes just days after Pakistan began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded due to the lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.
The wreckage and several houses in the area are on fire, visuals by Pakistan media showed. Plumes of smoke could be seen billowing in the sky as ambulances tried to make their way through.
25 residents of the area, injured in the crash, have been reportedly taken to hospitals. An emergency has been declared in all major hospitals of Karachi.
“The plane crashed in Karachi. We are trying to confirm the number of passengers but initially it is 99 passengers and eight crew members,” news agency AFP quoted Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the spokesman for the country’s aviation authority, as saying.
Pakistan media reported that Pak Army Quick Reaction Force and Pakistan Rangers are at the crash site to assist in relief and rescue efforts, which have been hindered due to the presence of a large crowd and narrow lanes.
Karachi and Lahore are about 1,020 km apart and it takes under two hours for a flight to cover the distance.
In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote northern to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.