97 confirmed dead in Karachi plane crash, 2 survive
Karachi: Pakistan’s Sindh government on Saturday confirmed that 97 bodies were recovered from the debris of the plane crash that took place a day earlier in a residential area in Karachi near the city’s airport.
According to the province’s Health Ministry, 66 bodies were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and 31 to Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), reports The Express Tribune.
The Ministry reported two survivors, adding that 19 bodies have been identified so far.
Pakistan Army’s media wing said a rescue operation was still underway by the Army Search and Rescue Team, Army troops, Rangers and social welfare organisations.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said 25 houses have been cleared and the residents of the densely populated Model Colony have been accommodated at various places.
En route from Lahore, flight PK 8303, an A320 Airbus, crashed on Friday while it was trying to land in Karachi. It was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members.
On Saturday, the PIA Engineering and Maintenance Department released an executive summary of the crash which included information on wrecked aircraft engines, landing gear, flying history and maintenance, The Express Tribune reported.
The first engine of the aircraft was installed on February 25, 2019, and the second on May 27, 2019. All three landing gears of the aircraft were installed on October 18, 2014. The plane made its final flight a day before the crash, when Pakistanis stranded in Muscat were brought back to Lahore. It was checked last on March 21, 2020, and had operated eight times since then. The aircraft was 16 years old and manufactured in 2004.
The summary also revealed that the plane was declared fit for flights till November 5, 2020 by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority. The federal government on Friday constituted an investigation team to probe the crash which will submit its report within the shortest possible time, Dawn news reported.
However, a preliminary statement would be issued within a month from the date of the notification. Witnesses have said the plane appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing.
Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association spokesperson Tariq Yahya, while speaking on Geo News, said that the plane seemed to be gliding at the end. “Communications show that the plane did not have power at the end and was gliding and couldn’t make it to the runway,” said Yahya, adding that it didn’t have power when it was asked to climb to 3,000 feet.
Friday’s crash came just days after Pakistan allowed the domestic flights to resume operations after being grounded for days due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Pakistan’s most recent deadly crash, a PIA plane in 2016 burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote north to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.
The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010, when an Airbus A321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad as it came into land, killing all 152 people on board.