Dozens dead in Pakistan as PIA plane plunges into Karachi houses

At least 80 people are killed after an Airbus A320 passenger airliner crashed into a residential neighbourhood while on approach to the airport within the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.

At least two male passengers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi survived the crash on Friday, a health ministry spokeswoman told the Al Jazeera news agency.

Watch the crash video above 

According to the Health ministry spokeswoman Meeran Yousu stated to the reports that 80 people have died, with 48 bodies kept at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi’s largest government hospital, and 32 at Civil Hospital Karachi, another major state-run hospital.

Yousuf said the 2 survivors were being treated at the hospitals in Karachi, while 17 bodies are identified thus far .

At least six people that were on the bottom when the airliner crashed into houses within the densely populated Model Colony area of Karachi, adjacent to the city’s international airport, were being treated for his or her injuries, she added.

“Our plane [an Airbus] A320 which was coming from Lahore to Karachi was on final approach,” said PIA chief Arshad Malik during a video message released after the crash.

“The last words we heard from our pilot were that there’s a technical problem and he was told on final approach that he has both runways available to him to land on. But the pilot decided that he wanted to travel around.”

The plane then rapidly lost altitude and crashed in need of the runway into the Model Colony neighbourhood, witnesses told the local media.

Dense plumes of black smoke rose above houses within the narrow streets of the neighbourhood, with television footage showing several houses crushed from the impact of the aircraft.

Parts of the plane, including the fire escape door, were seen strewn within the streets.

Pakistan’s military said it had deployed helicopters to assess the damage and help ferry the dead and wounded to the hospitals.

An emergency was declared altogether of the city’s hospitals, already reeling from a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus, provincial health minister Azra Pechucho told reporters.

“We do DNA testing of the dead bodies in order that they will be identified and that they are often given to their families,” she said.

“We were already in an emergency situation thanks to COVID, we were already alert … and now we’ve put the surgical units on alert also .”

Pakistan resumed limited flight operations last week, after a lengthy suspension thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed quite 1,067 lives within the South Asian country , consistent with the govt data.

The Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan’s ensign carrier, was thanks to land in Karachi at 2:45pm civil time (09:45 GMT) after an hour and a half within the air after departing Lahore earlier within the day.

In 2016, Pakistan suffered its deadliest recent air crash, when all 47 people on board a PIA Embraeur ATR aircraft were killed when it crashed into a mountain on the way from the northern town of Chitral to the capital Islamabad.

In 2010, the country saw its worst air disaster, with all 152 people on board an Air Blue passenger flight killed when the plane crashed into the hills just north of the capital Islamabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an instantaneous inquiry into Friday’s crash.

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