KARACHI: A Pakistani plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area in the southern city of Karachi on Friday, killing several people on the ground.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sparking an explosion and sending plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen from some distance away.
Rescue workers and local residents pulled people from the debris, as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames.
Seemin Jamali, a director from Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College in the city, said eight dead and 15 injured people had been brought to the facility.
“They were all from the ground, no (plane) passengers have been brought here,” she said.
Residents near the scene said their walls shook before a big explosion erupted as the plane slammed into their neighbourhood.
“I heard a big bang and woke up to people calling for the fire brigade,” said Karachi resident Mudassar Ali.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said there were 91 passengers and seven crew on board the flight, which lost contact with air traffic control just after 2.30pm.
“It is too early to comment on the cause of the crash,” he said.
Abdul Sattar Khokhar, of the country’s aviation authority, said the Airbus A320 was travelling from Lahore to Karachi.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the crash, tweeting that he was in touch with the state airline’s chief executive.
“Prayers and condolences go to families of the deceased,” said Khan.
Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the plane crashed into a residential area minutes before it was due to land.
The disaster comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages. — AFP