Plane crashes in Pakistan with 99 on board, many feared dead (UPDATED)
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 99 passengers and crew crashed into a residential area of the city of Karachi on Friday, with many feared dead, officials said, Reuters reports.
Smoke billowed at the scene where flight PK 8303 came down, some rooves were caved in, and debris lay scattered in streets as ambulances rushed through chaotic crowds of people.
Seemin Jamali, a doctor at nearby Jinnah Hospital, confirmed to Reuters there were at least five corpses from the crash.
“The areoplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,” witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, just a few kilometres short of the airport.
The jet, which tracking website FlightRadar24.com identified as a 15-year-old Airbus A320, was flying from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi in the south just as Pakistan was resuming domestic flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,” the state carrier’s spokesman Abdullah H. Khan said in a video statement.
“He was told from the final approach that both the runways were ready where he can land, but the pilot decided that he wanted to do (a) go-round ... It is a very tragic incident.”
One senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was too early to determine the cause.