At least two people including a bank executive have been pulled alive from the wreckage of an Airbus A320 which crashed after an ‘engine failure’ in Pakistan on Friday May 22, with 98 people on board.
“Thank you so much. God has been merciful,’ Zafar Masood, the President of the Bank of Punjab said, according to officials who spoke to him in hospital after the crash. The other known survivor was named as Muhammad Zubair.
The PIA’s Airbus A320 carrying 98 passengers including eight crew, was attempting to land at the city’s Jinnah International Airport after flying from Lahore before it crashed into a residential area of Karachi at about 14:30 local time (09:30 GMT).
Pakistan’s civil aviation authority said the plane had 91 passengers and a crew of seven.
At least two people aboard survived, according to the country’s health department, revising an earlier statement that three were alive. But the other 95 passengers and crew are believed to have died.
Health ministry spokeswoman Meeran Yousuf told Al Jazeera by telephone that 80 people have died, with 48 bodies kept at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi’s largest government hospital, and 32 at Civil Hospital Karachi, another major state-run hospital.
Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Welfare Trust said that around 25 to 30 residents whose houses were damaged by the plane have also been taken to the hospital, mostly with burn wounds.
The aircraft wings during the crash landing hit the houses in the residential colony before crashing down.
“At least 25 houses have been damaged in this incident,” Edhi said.
“The first priority is to rescue the people. The main hurdle is narrow streets and presence of ordinary people who gathered at the place after the crash but they have been dispersed,” the minister said.
According to BBC, the plane had attempted one landing but as it went round again lost its engines and issued a mayday call to traffic control.
The pilot reportedly said: ‘We are proceeding direct, sir – we have lost engine’.
‘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
A picture shared by plane enthusiasts shows that the aircraft suffered an apparent engine failure shortly before the crash. They claimed the Black scorch marks can be seen beneath each engine and the landing gear is still up.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sources said the captain had reported a technical fault before the plane vanished from the radar.