One of the two survivors of the Pakistan plane crash has described how he felt two “violent jolts” just moments before the flight went down.
Flight PK 8303 went down in the city of Karachi on Friday as the Airbus A320 plane, carrying 91 passengers and eight crew, was approaching Jinnah International Airport.
A total of 97 people were killed and only 19 bodies have been identified so far as most victims were badly burned, provincial health department spokeswoman Meeran Yousaf said.
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Passenger Mohammed Zubair, a mechanical engineer, said the pilot had warned that the landing in Karachi would be “troublesome” after it violently jolted twice, which he initially believed was turbulence.
Mr Zubair said the pilot’s words were the last thing he remembered until he woke up in a scene of chaos.
Mr Zubair added: “I saw so much smoke and fire. I heard people crying, children crying.”
Image: People carry the coffins of husband and wife who were killed in a plane crash, during a funeral in Karachi
The plane crashed into a crowded neighbourhood on the edge of the airport in the poor and densely populated area of the city known as Model Colony.
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Three people on the ground were reportedly injured in the crash and at least five houses were destroyed, and rescue crews were still sifting through the rubble on Saturday.
The Pakistan International Airlines flight was carrying people, mostly families, returning home for Eid al-Fitr – a major holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Image: Men walk on the debris at the site of the passenger plane crash
The country had been under a nationwide lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and when flights resumed, every other seat was left empty to adhere to social distancing rules.
Science minister Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry said that between the coronavirus outbreak and the plane crash, this year had been a “catastrophe”.
Image: Rescue workers gather at the site of the crash on Friday
“What is most unfortunate and sad is whole families have died, whole families who were travelling together for the Eid holiday,” he said.
Local news reports and social media said Zara Abid, a 28-year-old actress and award-winning model, was among those killed.
A senior banker, his wife and three young children were also reportedly killed.
The only other survivor of the crash was Zafar Masood, a bank executive.
Image: Zafar Masood was the only other survivor of the crash
A transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control indicated that he had failed to land and was circling to make another attempt.
“We are proceeding direct, sir – we have lost engine,” the pilot said.
“Confirm your attempt on belly,” the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.
Image: People stand next to the aircraft debris
“Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot said before the transmission ended.
PIA chairman Arshad Malik said an independent inquiry would be held but that the aircraft was in good working order.
Documents showed the plane last received a government check in November 2019.
Source : Sky News