ISLAMABAD, May 23 (NNN-APP) – The death toll of a passenger plane crash in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi has soared to 80, while seven others, including people aboard and those on the ground were injured, police said.
Rescue teams shifted 48 bodies to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, and 32 others to the Civil Hospital Karachi, police sources in Karachi said, adding that, most of the bodies have been burnt beyond recognition and will be identified by DNA testing.
The health department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the provincial capital, said that, five bodies of the ill-fated plane have already been identified.
Meeran Yousuf, media representative to the health minister of Sindh, retracted an earlier statement made by the health minister of three survivors in the plane crash, by saying that, only two people survived the crash. The third one was an injured person on the ground, who was misunderstood as a crash survivor.
There is no official word on the exact cause of the crash yet, while the country’s Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, formed a committee to probe into the incident and identify elements behind the crash.
The crashed plane belonged to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and according to Director, Management of Operations PIA, Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.
The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore, at 1:08 p.m. local time on Friday and crashed at 2:45 p.m., PIA spokesperson, Abdullah Hafeez, said.
Ismail Khoso, spokesman of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, the plane, Airbus A320, with some 100 people on board, crashed shortly before landing at the Karachi airport on Friday afternoon.
He also confirmed that the pilot contacted the control tower, intimating that the plane was meeting some technical fault, and he was told that two runways were vacated for landing and he may use anyone.
“Instead of landing, the pilot preferred to take another round in the air, and shortly after, he lost contact with the control, and the plane was later found crashed in a residential area,” said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of PIA, Arshad Malik, told a media briefing on Friday night that the plane was fully operational and did not have any technical fault when it took off from Lahore airport, adding, the problem only erupted in the plane when it was about to land at the airport during its first round.
The airline’s chief said, no loss of life was reported on the ground, as the plane landed mainly on a street, and no major damage was done to the houses, contradicting statements by eyewitness and CAA officials that several houses were damaged in the crash.
Rescue teams from non-government organisations, military and government took part in the operation to shift the bodies and injured people to hospitals, police said, adding that, the rescue operation still continues in the area, to recover the remaining bodies or possible survivors.– NNN-APP