97 killed in Pakistan plane crash, 2 survived
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303, traveling from the northeastern Lahore, crashed Friday into a residential area near Jinnah International Airport while landing with 99 passengers and crew on board, the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed in a statement.
The crash occurred days after the resumption of domestic flights following a month-long lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an inquiry into the second plane crash since 2016.
The health department in Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, confirmed 66 bodies were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center and 31 bodies were transferred to Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital.
Twenty of the injured are in critical condition and were also taken to Ruth Pfau Hospital.
Authorities, who earlier were unclear if the dead and injured were passengers or residents on the ground, later said all of the deceased were passengers on the plane but several residents were injured in the crash.
Two people, including renowned banker Zafar Masood, were confirmed to have survived the crash. Doctors said their conditions are stable.
Nineteen of the dead have been identified but most bodies burned beyond recognition, according to health officials.
Rescue workers backed by the army, and paramilitary troops will continue the rescue and clearance operation to remove the rubble and search for any possible survivor
r dead, Pakistan Army said in a statement on Friday. Rescuers see low chance of anyone being trapped under the rubble as no one from the area is missing. But, they say, there is a possibility of passers-by being killed or injured in the crash.
Officials began to collect DNA samples to identify the deceased.
Among the passengers who headed to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, were 20 women, three children, several army officers, and senior journalist Ansar Naqvi.
Authorities moved dozens of residents to a local hotel after their houses were partially or completely destroyed.
The plane caught fire before it fell following a deafening explosion.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez told reporters it is early to comment on possible causes for the crash. "The plane was not old and it was well-maintained," he said.
But an initial investigation report suggested multiple birds collided with the plane, Geo News reported. ■