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Politics Pakistani Flight Crashes Into Residential Karachi Neighborhood

17:14  22 may  2020
17:14  22 may  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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(Bloomberg) -- A Pakistan International Airlines Corp. flight with 107 people aboard crashed into a residential neighborhood of Karachi as it approached for landing, triggering an urgent rescue effort amid smoke and debris.

At least two passengers on the Airbus SE A320 jet are believed to have survived the initial impact, Sindh information minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said to reporters at the site of crash. One of them was Zafar Masud, president at Bank of Punjab, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.

The injured, including people on the ground, were being taken to local hospitals, provincial health minister Azra Fazal Pechuho told local television. There was no immediate word on the number of casualties.

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  Mayor: Pakistan plane crashes near Karachi, all 107 killed KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A passenger plane belonging to state-run Pakistan International Airlines crashed near the southern port city of Karachi on Friday, killing all 107 passengers and crew, the city's mayor said. The aircraft crashed into a crowded neighborhood on the edge of the airport. Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash. The aircraft crashed into a crowded neighborhood on the edge of the airport. Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash. It wasn't immediately known how many casualties were from among the residential area.

Flight PK 8303, which took off from Lahore, was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew, the Civil Aviation Authority said. Pakistan’s GEO TV showed footage of cars and homes on fire in the neighborhood near the airport in the nation’s commercial hub. The A320 narrow-body jet was built in 2004, data from Flightradar24 showed.

a close up of a map © Bloomberg

The pilot had reported a “technical fault” before deciding to go around instead of landing, Arshad Malik, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in a video message. The carrier is trying to determine what the technical fault was, Malik said.

It’s the second plane crash for the Pakistani carrier in less than four years. The airline’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR 42 turboprop killed 47 people.

Bank president, second survivor are pulled from wreckage of Pakistan plane crash

  Bank president, second survivor are pulled from wreckage of Pakistan plane crash New footage and images show the incredible moment that survivors were pulled from the airplane crash in Pakistan.   © Associated Press In this photo released by the Sindh Press Information Department, Pakistani provincial minister Saeed Ghani, second from right, meets Mohammad Zubair who survived a plane crash, at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, May 22, 2020. An aviation official says a passenger plane belonging to state-run Pakistan International Airlines carrying passengers and crew has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Twitter said he’s in touch with the CEO and that an investigation would be conducted soon. While the country’s army tweeted that troops had reached the site to conduct relief-and-rescue efforts.

The plane damaged as many as 20 houses, Ahmed Edhi, spokesman for rescue agency Edhi, said by phone from the accident site.

A CAA representative couldn’t immediately confirm the number of casualties and said the authority is waiting for more information. An Airbus representative said the company is in touch with the airline to gather more information and declined to comment further.

The carrier, founded in 1946, suffered as many as 51 safety-related incidents before Friday’s crash, according to data from Aviation Safety Network.

Read: Kennedy Photo Taken Off Wall as Pakistan Air Seeks Revival

Like other carriers worldwide, PIA struggled with plane groundings in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, which hasn’t made a profit since 2004, asked the government for financial support in March. Friday’s crash happened as the nation started holidays to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, when many Pakistanis return home to celebrate.

But signs of a recovery were in sight as the country began emerging from a two-month lockdown. Pakistan recently began resuming domestic flights last week, starting with 20% of capacity.

Globally, airline safety had improved last year, with an accident rate of one per every 884,000 flights compared with an average of 640,000 for 2014-18, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The Pakistan crash comes at a terrible time for airlines, which are staring at a $314 billion loss in ticket sales this year, as the Coronavirus outbreak idles 70% of global capacity, IATA has said.

(Updates with possible survivors in second paragraph)

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