Scores feared dead as passenger jet crashes in Pakistan

It also 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 travelling back to their homes in cities and villages. 
Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. Scores feared dead as passenger jet crashes in Pakistan

May 22, 2020 / 1:05 PM
/ cbs/AFP

Deadly plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan

A passenger jet carrying 98 people crashed Friday into a residential neighborhood of the Pakistani city of Karachi. Firefighters spray water on the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. Others showed huge clouds of black smoke billowing up between tightly packed buildings in the residential neighborhood. Rescue workers remove a body from the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed into a residential area in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty

Rescue efforts were underway and an official with Pakistan’s Interior Ministry told CBS News there were survivors, but no numbers could be confirmed, and it was unclear whether he was referring to people who had been on the ground or in the plane at the time of the crash.A video shared online by Pakistan’s GEO TV showed an emergency crew trying to reach the scene through rubble, with flames still visible in the background. The Associated Press quoted witnesses as saying the Airbus A320 appeared to have tried to land at least a couple times before crashing into the residential area near Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. The control tower told the pilot that two runways were clear for landing, but air traffic control lost communication with the crew and the plane crashed shortly after. Witnesses reported seeing an engine on fire before the plane came down. First published on May 22, 2020 / 6:37 AM There was no official word on the number of casualties, but Pakistan’s leader tweeted condolences “to the families of the deceased.” Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar was quoted by The Associated Press as telling reporters at the scene that all those who had been on board the jetliner died in the crash, but officials with the national government said at least two people from the plane were believed to have survived. PIA Airbus A320 from Lahore was about to land in Karachi when it crashed at the Model Colony in Malir Cant Karachi.😢#planecrash— Murtaza Mubejo (@MurtazaPPP) May 22, 2020

Abdul Sattar Khokhar, spokesman for the country’s aviation authority, confirmed that the flight had been flying to Karachi from Lahore. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Pakistan International Airlines said flight PK 8303 went down with 91 passengers and 7 crew on board. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan sent his condolences to the victims of the crash in a tweet, vowing an immediate investigation into the disaster.Pakistan has a checkered military and civilian aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years. In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote northern to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people. This is a developing story and will be updated. RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty

Some of the confusion was likely between casualties among those on the ground when the plane came down — it destroyed five or six houses — and those on board the aircraft.   

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CBS News’ Maria Usman said the PIA Airbus A320 crashed into a neighborhood called Jinnah Gardens, close to the port city of Karachi’s airport. A source at the airport told CBS News the pilot had informed the control tower that one of the plane’s two engines had failed. The crash came just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded during a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic. Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now.