97 confirmed dead in Pakistan crash

97 confirmed dead in Pakistan crash

Two survivors from plane and no deaths in Karachi neighbourhood where Airbus came down

The PIA plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sparking an explosion, but authorities now say that no people on the ground were killed.
The PIA plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sparking an explosion, but authorities now say that no people on the ground were killed.

KARACHI, Pakistan: The death toll from Friday’s passenger jet crash in Karachi has been confirmed at 97 with two survivors, while no fatalities were reported from the dense residential neighbourhood where the Airbus A320 crash-landed, authorities said on Saturday.

Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 8303 was flying from Lahore to Karachi with 99 people on board when it went down at about 2.4pm while trying a second landing attempt.

“Final plane crash update: 66 bodies were brought to (Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre), 31 bodies were brought to Civil Hospital Karachi,” the provincial health minister’s media coordinator said in a statement, adding that there were no deaths confirmed on the ground.

Rescue and debris clearing in the neighbourhood was still under way on Saturday.

Seconds before the crash, the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines, according to a recording posted on liveatc.net, a respected aviation monitoring website.

Airbus said the jet first flew in 2004 and was fitted with engines built by CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and Safran of France.

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced soon after the crash that there would be an inquiry, and a four-member team was constituted on Friday night, according to a notification from the government’s aviation division, seen by Reuters.

The team includes three members of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board and one from the Pakistan Air Force’s safety board. The team will issue a preliminary statement within a month, the notification says.

There was no official confirmation of the aircraft’s “black box” flight recorder being found.

“Rescue Op in progress … 25 affected houses cleared, their residents accommodated at various places with assistance of Civil Administration,” the Army’s public relations wing said on Twitter.

Pakistan only last week resumed domestic flights it had suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people travelling for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, expected to fall on Sunday or Monday in the country, subject to the sighting of the moon.

Friday’s crash is the worst air disaster in Pakistan since 2012, when a Bhoja Air passenger aircraft, a Boeing 737, crashed in Islamabad killing 127 people.

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