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World At least two survivors after plane carrying around 100 people crashes in Pakistan

18:32  22 may  2020
18:32  22 may  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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At least two people have survived the crash of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane in Karachi that had 91 passengers and seven crew on board.

a man cooking in a city: The wreckage of the plane can be seen between the buildings © Getty The wreckage of the plane can be seen between the buildings

The carrier originally said flight PK 8303 from Lahore had 107 people on board but a spokesman for Pakistan's civil aviation authority attributed the discrepancy to confusion in the tense aftermath of the crash.

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Fire officers spray water on the wreckage of the plane © Getty Fire officers spray water on the wreckage of the plane

Local TV stations ran footage of a man on a stretcher who they said had survived the crash.

Two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived the crash. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief media.

Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport.

"The last we heard from the pilot was that he had some technical problem," PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement. "It is a very tragic incident."

The pilot sent a Mayday and told controllers the aircraft had lost power from both its engines on its second attempt to land, according to a recording posted online.

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After the aircraft reportedly called off an earlier attempt to land and went around for a second attempt, a controller radioed the pilot that he appeared to be turning left, suggesting he was off-course.

 The pilot replied, "We are returning back, sir, we have lost engines," and the controller cleared the plane to land on either of the airport's two runways.

Twelve seconds later the pilot called"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" and was again cleared to use either runway. There was no further communication from the aircraft.

It is feared there may be more casualties as the plane came down on houses in the densely populated Model Colony area near the airport.

Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash.

Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan tweeted: "Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. . . Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased."

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A spokesperson for Pakistan's Armed Forces tweeted that helicopters were being used in the search and rescue effort and that paramilitary troops had reached the site, alongside civil administration.

a group of people walking down the street in front of a crowd: An ambulance arrives at the scene. Pic: REHAN KHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock © Rex Features An ambulance arrives at the scene. Pic: REHAN KHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Local TV station Geo showed crowds near the scene which appeared to be a densely populated area and ambulances trying to make their way through. It also showed black smoke billowing above buildings.

Footage taken from the scene showed a woman crying as she was helped to safety by another woman and one man being helped by a passer-by as he limped through the cordon.

Firefighters and other rescue workers were pictured on the roofs of buildings spraying water onto the wreckage of the plane.

The flight typically takes an hour and a half to travel from the northeastern city of Lahore to Karachi.

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

PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on 28 April saying all maintenance had been conducted on the plane and that "the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety standards".

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a car covered in snow: Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro © Reuters Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the crash.

Pakistan resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid holiday marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

It has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March to try to stem the spread of coronavirus.

a person standing next to a pile of rocks: Men walk on the debris at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro © Reuters Men walk on the debris at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Cockpit voice recorder found in debris of Pakistan crash .
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