A bank manager and at least one other passenger were pulled out alive from the wreckage of an Airbus A320 which crashed in a crowded neighborhood on the edge of the international airport near Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi yesterday.
Bank of Punjab president Zafar Masood was dragged from the smoking debris of the Pakistan International Airlines flight.
Officials said two people had survived the crash while the local TV said there were three survivors who had sat at the front of the plane.
Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash of the domestic flight operated by Pakistan International Airlines.
He said all those on board died, but two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived the crash. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Police wearing protective masks struggled to clear away crowds to allow a firetruck and an ambulance to move through the narrow streets toward the crash site, the air filled with dust and smoke. Police and soldiers cordoned off the area.
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.
“Confirm your attempt on belly,” the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.
“Sir – mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot said before the transmission ended.
The aircraft arriving from the eastern city of Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew members, said Abdul Sattar Kokhar, spokesman Pakistan’s civil aviation authority.
Pakistan had resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holiday marking the end of the Ramadan. Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport. The residential area on the edge of the airport, known as Model Colony, is poor and heavily congested.
A resident of the area, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try to land before it crashed into several houses.