Many dead and two miracles. At least 97 people died Friday in the crash of an Airbus A320 over a residential area of Karachi, the big city of the south of Pakistan, according to a new assessment made public Saturday by the local authorities… which also reported two survivors .
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed into a group of houses as it approached Karachi airport. The latest assessment, reporting 97 deaths, includes all the occupants of the aircraft except two survivors. It is not yet known whether the disaster also claimed lives on the ground.
The aircraft, coming from Lahore, was carrying 99 people (91 passengers and 8 crew members) said a PIA spokesman on Saturday, correcting a first count which reported only 98 occupants.
One of the miracles is the president of the Bank of Punjab
Among the two miracles of the crash was Zafar Masud, president of the Bank of Punjab, one of Pakistan's largest banks, said PIA president Arshad Malik. Rescue operations ended at dawn on Saturday, authorities said. During the whole day of Friday, rescuers and residents had searched the rubble for bodies.
Arshad Malik, CEO of the company, said the aircraft, an Airbus A320, was "on final approach" from Karachi airport when an incident occurred. "The last time we heard from the pilot, he indicated that he had a technical problem," he said. "He was told [...] that two runways were ready for the landing, but he decided to go around. "
According to Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah, the pilot said he had "lost an engine" and then made "a distress call".
Passages were returning home for Eid-el-Fitr
“I saw a passenger off the plane. […] He was alive. He talked. He asked me to save him, but his legs were trapped in the emergency exit, "said Raja Amjad, a witness who had previously seen a body" fall on his car ". He added that he heard "no screams" from other passengers as the plane caught fire.
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Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "shocked and saddened" by the disaster, sending his "prayers and condolences to the families and missing persons" on Twitter.
I thank world leaders for reaching out to condole over the tragic air crash and loss of precious lives. The people of Pakistan value this support and solidarity in our hour of grief.- Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the plane had "many people returning home for Eid-el-Fitr", the celebration of the end of Ramadan, the most important holiday for Muslims.
The last major air accident in the country dates back to December 2016. A PIA domestic plane crashed in the mountainous north of the country, killing 47 people. The deadliest accident involving PIA to date has occurred in 1992. One of its A300s descended prematurely to the airport in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and crashed on a hill, killing 167 people.
VIDEO. Airline plane crashes in residential area in Karachi