Pakistan plane from Lahore crashes near Karachi

22/05/2020

A passenger plane with at least 100 people on board has crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi, the country’s civil aviation agency said on Friday.

“We are trying to confirm the number of passengers but initially it is 99 passengers and eight crew members,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the spokesman for the country’s aviation authority.

The flight from the eastern city of Lahore crashed near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, the country’s largest city, on Friday afternoon, officials said.

The PK8303 flight was due to land in Karachi at 14:45 local time (09:45 GMT). The Airbus A320 plane was operated by state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties or survivors but a relative of a passenger on board.  Images shown on national television showed plumes of smoke above homes in a congested residential apartment buildings, with fire trucks en route to the scene of the crash.

Television footage from the scene showed a number of ambulances unable to make progress in the narrow lanes of the residential neighbourhood where the crash took place, as people crowded in towards the site.

Pakistan resumed limited domestic commercial flights last week, after a months-long suspension due to the coronavirus. Flights are operating with reduced capacity to ensure that passengers are sitting with one seat’s space between them in the cabin.

In 2016, a PIA commercial flight crashed in the northern Pakistani region of Chitral, killing all 47 people on board.

Health officials told Al Jazeera that hospitals in the teeming metropolis of 22 million in Pakistan’s south had been put on emergency notice to deal with possible casualties from the crash.

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