Passenger plane with around 100 on board crashes in Karachi, authorities say
Issued on: Modified:
A Pakistani passenger plane with around 100 people on board has crashed in a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on Friday, the country's aviation authority said.
Images on national television showed smoke billowing from where Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK 8303 crashed.
"The plane crashed in Karachi. 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. Khokhar added that the aircraft was en route to Karachi from Lahore.
Other sources put the death toll slightly lower. PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said there were 91 passengers and seven crew on board the flight, which lost contact with air traffic control just after 2:30pm (9:30 GMT).
"The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem," another PIA 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."
A senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels prior to landing but that it was to early to determine the cause of the crash.
Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport. Images aired on national television showed clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.
The Pakistani military tweeted that security forces had been deployed to the area and helicopters were being used to survey the damage and help ongoing rescue operations.