The plane crash occurred as the flight from Lahore to Karachi was approaching Jinnah International Airport. The pilot indicated some technical issues, and the Airbus-320 attempted to land a couple of times but failed. This is borne out by witnesses who confirmed the failed attempts. It finally crashed into a residential area, and two persons on board had a miraculous escape, as revealed by civil aviation officials. There were 91 passengers and seven crew on board. It seems one of the survivors was a high-ranking official of a bank. A provincial government spokesman added – “a banker had survived and spoke to officials from his hospital bed.”
Sky News says Pakistan had been under lockdown since mid-March because of coronavirus in order to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
The country had restarted its domestic flights earlier this week, keeping in mind the forthcoming Eid holiday that marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan expressed his grief and sent condolences via Twitter. He sad – “Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. . . Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.”
Mayor Wasim Akhtar mentioned about damages to a number of houses with scenes of debris scattered on the roads. The area is a densely populated settlement near the airport. The final casualty figures could be high. It was a chaotic situation, and ambulances were on hand to shift injured persons to hospitals.
The authorities deployed helicopters in the search and rescue operations, and paramilitary troops were at the site to assist the civil administration. Sky News quotes a spokesman of PIA saying – “The last we heard from the pilot was that he had some technical problem.
It is a very tragic incident.” The aircraft had lost power, and both engines were inoperative. Hence, the pilot sent a Mayday and tried to retrieve the situation. The air traffic control cleared the airport for landing on any of the landing strips, but things went out of control. Flight duration from Lahore to Karachi is usually one and half-hour.
This plane received its airworthiness clearance on 1 November 2019. There is a separate certificate of 28 April that confirms, “The aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety standards.” PIA’s chief engineer signed this document.
According to BBC, a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane flying from Lahore to Karachi crashed into a residential area and killed at least 76 people. The Airbus A320 was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew, and the tragedy happened while the pilot was trying to land at the Jinnah International Airport. Flight PK8303 crashed into a residential area, and the injured were moved to hospitals.
Local health officials at the hospitals indicated up to 76 confirmed deaths. However, they could not provide the breakup of passengers and local residents. Investigators will have to retrieve the black box recorders and analyze its contents to help determine the cause. This plane had joined the fleet in 2014. Pakistan had witnessed several airline crashes earlier. They involved different airlines and different types of aircraft, and all had many casualties.
It is the preferred mode of travel for the fast-paced society. However, there are inbuilt risks, and any accident in the air could be catastrophic. When a car engine fails on the ground, one can ring up the garage and move the vehicle to the curb but not in the air. In February 2017, four Americans died in a plane crash in Australia. One year later, in February 2018, a plane crash in Iran killed all 66 passengers on board. Obviously, those who operate airlines must ensure that once the aircraft takes off, it must come down under its own power at the designated landing spot.
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