Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Pakistani PIA A320 crashes in Karachi district

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Firefighters and rescuers at the Pakistani PIA commercial plane crash site in Karachi on May 22. Fareed Khan / AP

An Airbus A320 of the national company Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), with a hundred people on board, crashed Friday, May 22, in a residential district of Karachi, in the south of Pakistan, the company raising a technical problem.

"There were 91 passengers and seven crew members" aboard flight PK8303 connecting Lahore and Karachi, "Who lost contact with air traffic control at 2:37 p.m." (11.37 a.m. Paris time), PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez told local media.

According to company CEO Arshad Malik, the aircraft, an Airbus A320, was "On final approach" when an incident occurred. "The last time we heard from the pilot, he indicated that he had a technical problem", he said in a video posted on Twitter.

"He was told (…) that two runways were ready for landing, but he decided to go around. Why ? It remains to be determined what the technical problem was. "

According to Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah, the pilot said he had "Lost an engine" then launched "A distress call". According to the specialized site FlightRadar24.com, the Airbus A320 has been in service for fifteen years. The automaker said it was aware of the accident and is awaiting further details.

An "immediate investigation"

According to Pakistani civil aviation officials, quoted by the Associated Press, at least two people have survived. Seemin Jamali, a director of the Jinnah University Hospital in Karachi, said that eight corpses and 15 wounded had been transported in her departments, all of them residents of the residential area.

Images broadcast by Geo television show ambulances trying to make their way through the crowd gathered near the scene of the disaster, which appears to be a densely populated area, above which stands a column of black smoke. Several cars were also on fire.

The Pakistani military announced on Twitter that it had dispatched a rapid intervention force, along with paramilitary elements, to the rescue site to assist in the rescue.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in contact with PIA management, has promised a "Immediate investigation" on the causes of the drama. " Shocked and saddened " by the disaster he addressed his “Prayers and condolences to families and the missing”.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says the plane was on board "A lot of people going home for Eid (-el-Fitr)", the celebration of the end of Ramadan, the most important holiday for Muslims.

The World with AFP, AP and Reuters

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