66 deaths confirmed in PIA plane crash

By: News Desk      Published: 03:05 PM, 22 May, 2020
66 deaths confirmed in PIA plane crash

Hospital officials have confirmed death of at least 66 passengers who were onboard a PIA plane flying from Lahore to Karachi on Friday.

Lieutenant Balach Mir of the Pakistan Army is one of the passengers whose death in the plane crash has been officially confirmed. 

Three lucky people who are said to have survived the PIA plane crash are Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masood, airhostess Madeeha Irum and Muhammad Zubair.

A PIA passenger plane crashed in a populated area just before landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport on Friday afternoon, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The Army Quick Response Force, Rangers, police and rescuers reached the scene as several houses and vehicles were also destroyed in the incident involving the plane coming from Lahore. The plane, Airbus 320, was carrying 91 passengers and seven crewmembers.

Respected journalist Ansar Naqvi, senior director programming at 24NewsHD TV channel, and senior bureaucrat Khalid Sherdil – CEO of the Urban Sector Planning and Management Services Company (The Urban Unit) – were also among the passengers.

On the other hand, Bank of Punjab President Masood Zafar was also travelling to Karachi. He is injured and shifted to the Civil Hospital where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

According to initial reports, the aircraft crashed in the Jinnah Garden Area due to a technical fault which was confirmed by the PIA spokesperson. The residential neighbourhood is located in the Malir Cantt adjacent to the Model Colony less than one kilometre from the airport runway.

Before the tragic incident, the captain first informed the air traffic control about developing some technical fault after which the plane vanished from the radar as the contact was lost just a few minutes before the crash. The captain lost control of the plane, the Civil Aviation Authority say.

The plane captain can be heard saying “we have lost engine” after which he repeated “mayday, mayday” during his last communication with the airport traffic controller before losing contact.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the Flight No PK-8303 had left Lahore at 1pm and was scheduled to arrive in Karachi at 2:45pm.

PIA spokesperson Athar told 24NewsHD TV channel said the plane was fit [air travel worthy] and all rumours on the issue were baseless. Details about the cause could only be shared investigation by a team comprising the CAA, PIA and Airbus representatives.

The TV footage available with the 24NewsHD TV channel showed smoke and destroyed houses with engulfing the buildings and cars. Initial reports suggest that at least eight to ten houses have been ruined in the area.

According to 24NewsHD TV channel, several bodies have so far been recovered and the many injured shifted to different hospitals while over 25 vehicles are either destroyed or damaged.

On the other hand, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah imposed emergency in all the hospitals and directed the authorities to launch rescue and relief operation.

The names of the crewmembers available so far are: Captain Sajjad Gul, First Officer Usman Azam, Flight Purser Farid Ahmed and three airhostesses Madiha Irum, Amna Irfan and Asma Shehzadi.

Meanwhile, 17 bodies had so far been shifted to the Jinnah Hospital where it is said the health facility did not have capacity to receive more.

On the other hand, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah imposed emergency in all the hospitals and directed the authorities to launch rescue and relief operation. Later, he reached the incident site and reviewed the rescue operation. 

The names of the crewmembers available so far are: Captain Sajjad Gul, First Officer Usman Azam, Flight Purser Farid Ahmed and three airhostesses Madiha Irum, Amna Irfan and Asma Shehzadi.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an inquiry into the plane crash as Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as well as top political leaders including Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman expressed sorrow over the tragedy.