The forces are still deployed between the debris and parts of the building, and Pakistan is still in shock: At least 97 people were killed in a passenger plane crashing over a residential area in the metropolis of Karachi.
However, it is also unclear a day after the disaster how exactly the accident happened. However, the authorities have since secured a black box, so that there will soon be detailed information about possible technical breakdowns. So far, there are many indications that both engines failed on approach, one of only two surviving aircraft passengers described on television how he perceived the accident. "People panicked and started praying loudly," Muhammad Zubair told the Geo TV broadcaster late Friday evening about the last minutes before the crash.
"The pilot held the aircraft in the air for the next ten to fifteen minutes and made a second announcement to land, but the aircraft crashed," said Zubair. After the crash, there was fire everywhere. "There were screams from children, adults and the elderly everywhere."
Zubair suffered burns as a result, but was in a stable condition, an official from the Ministry of Health said. Of the 99 occupants of the machine, 97 died. Three survivors were mentioned on Friday because an injured resident of the crash site was counted among the passengers.
According to the authorities, no residents have died in the residential area. However, the emergency services are still busy with the identification of the dead, and the work at the accident site is difficult, and shortly before the crash, the pilot reported technical problems with the machine to the tower, said the head of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Arshad Malik . Radio messages indicated a failure of one of the machine's engines. Eyewitnesses told local television stations that they saw the plane circling the airport before it crashed in the residential area.
The Airbus with flight number PK8303 was en route from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi. Officials said the plane carried 91 passengers and 8 crew members, and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed condolences to the victims and families after the crash. Khan was shocked and saddened by the crash, Khan wrote on Twitter. He announced an immediate investigation. Chancellor Angela Merkel also sent a letter of condolences to Prime Minister Khan Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah said on Friday that the machine had had technical problems. The pilot made an emergency call after an engine failure. "The last time we heard from the pilot was that he had a technical problem," said PIA chief Malik. "He was told that two runways were free, but decided to accelerate again."
A recording of the radio traffic between pilot and tower was published on the portal "liveatc.net". Accordingly, the pilot broke off a first landing attempt and subsequently tried again to land. An air traffic controller tells the pilot that the plane is apparently turning to the left and is off course. The pilot replied, "We're turning, sir, the engines have failed." The air traffic controller cleared two runways for the aircraft before the pilot made an emergency call twelve seconds later. The pilot again said that two runways were free. Then the connection broke off, according to Reuters, an eyewitness reported that the plane had first rammed a cell tower and then crashed a few kilometers from the airport. TV pictures showed badly damaged houses, debris and black clouds of smoke over the crash site. Rescuers and residents rescued victims from the rubble, firefighters extinguished wreckage, according to the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which was put into operation in 2004 and used for flights by the Pakistani airline from 2014. Pakistan International Airlines was one of the world's leading airlines until the 1970s. The airline is now suffering from frequent flight cancellations, delays and financial difficulties. The crash occurred just a week after the Pakistani authorities decided to resume domestic air traffic. Due to the corona pandemic, international flights to the South Asian country will be suspended until the end of the month.
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