PIA plane crashes in residential area near Karachi airport

KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane more than hundred passengers onboard crashed in a residential area while landing at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

According to sources, flight PK-8303 took off from Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport and crashed in Model Colony area in Malir, approximately 4 kilometers away from the airport.

Images aired on television showed the Pakistan International Airlines flight had smashed into a residential area, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.

According to witnesses, four houses have been damaged in the incident. Five dead bodies have also been retrieved.

Army, Rangers and Police units have arrived at the scene. Emergency has been declared at Jinnah Hospital.

Speaking to media, PIA spokesperson confirmed the plane crash. He said information is being collected at the moment. Ninety nine passengers and six crew members along with two captains were onboard the plane.

It was an Airbus 320 which has capacity to carry around 180 passengers, however, number of passengers were kept at 50% capacity limit to ensure social distancing measures.

The crash occurred just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded during a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan has a chequered 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.

The crash 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.

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