At least 97 people are confirmed dead --two survived--from crash of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane in Karachi near Jinnah Intl Airport on Friday, Dawn News reported.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said that the A320 Airbus was carrying 91 passengers and 8 crew members from Lahore to Karachi, the report said.
Eyewitnesses said the plane appeared to be making attempts to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near the airport.
Two passengers survived, including Zafar Masood, president of the Bank of Punjab, according to a Sindh provincial government spokesman as quoted by Reuters.
The bank said the survivor had suffered fractures but was “conscious and responding well”.
The other survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again.
After around 10 more minutes of flying, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to make a second attempt, then crashed as he approached the runway, Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi, said Reuters.
According to eyewitnesses, the plane crashed hardly a few hundred feet away from the runway. A transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt, reported AP.
“We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,” a pilot can be heard saying.
The crash happened on the eve of the Muslim Eid festival, when Pakistanis travel to visit relatives.
The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010, when an Airbus A321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad as it came in to land, killing all 152 people on board, according to Dawn News.