Turkey voices sorrow over Pakistani plane crash

A passenger plane belonging to state-run airline Pakistani International Airlines

At least three people survived the crash of a Pakistani airliner that slammed into a residential area of Karachi on Friday, including a bank manager who was seen on local TV lying on a stretcher after being pulled out of the wreckage, according to reports.

The state carrier said the flight, PK 8303, had crashed with 99 passengers and eight crew members on board, though civil aviation officials said the total for both may be 99.

Footage shared online shows large plumes of smoke in the air near the crash site and emergency services rushing to the site.

The Army said helicopters were flown into the area for damage assessment and rescue efforts with urban search and rescue teams being sent to the site.

The Airbus A320 was en route to Karachi when the crash occurred.

A CAA representative couldn't immediately confirm the number of casualties and said the authority is waiting for more information.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority sources said its communication was cut off with the plane a minute before it was supposed to land.

Ambulances and fire brigade vehicles gather at the site of the passenger plane crash
Ambulances and fire brigade vehicles gather at the site of the passenger plane crash

The plane lost contact with the air traffic control at 2.37 pm (local time), PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said, adding that it was too early to say about the technical problems faced by the plane.

The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, with many traveling back to their homes in cities and villages.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter: "Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash". Immediate inquiry will be instituted.

The crash happened just as Pakistan was resuming domestic flights weeks after being hit by the coronavirus pandemic. "Our condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishing speedy recovery to those injured". Twisted fuselage lay in the rubble of multi-storey buildings as ambulances rushed through chaotic crowds. The flight from the northeastern city of Lahore typically lasts about an hour and a half.

Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on November 1, 2019.

Video on social media appeared to show the plane flying low over the residential area with flames shooting from one of its two engines. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on 28 April saying all maintenance had been conducted.

"Deeply saddened by the loss of life due to a plane crash in Pakistan".

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