Pakistan jet with 98 aboard crashes in crowded neighborhood

A jetliner carrying 98 people crashed Friday in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi after an apparent engine failure during landing. Officials said there were at least two survivors from the plane, and it was unknown how many people on the ground were hurt, with at least five houses destroyed.

The pilot of Pakistani International Airlines Flight 8303 was heard transmitting a mayday to the tower shortly before the crash of the Airbus A320, which was flying from Lahore to Karachi. Video on social media appeared to show the jet flying low over a residential area with flames shooting from one of its engines.

The plane came to rest about 2:39 p.m. in a narrow alley in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony between houses smashed by its wings. Police in protective masks struggled to clear away crowds amid the smoke and dust so ambulances and firetrucks could reach the crash site.

As darkness fell, crews worked under floodlights to recover bodies and a portable morgue was set up.

Two passengers survived, said Meeran Yousaf, Sindh provincial Health Department spokeswoman, revising an earlier statement that three had survived.

At least three people on the ground were injured.

Pakistan had resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holiday marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus, and the airline has been using social distancing guidelines on its flights by leaving every other seat vacant.

Southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, is the epicenter of the virus infections in Pakistan. The province has nearly 20,000 of the country's more than 50,000 cases.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar initially said all aboard died, but two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

Local TV stations reported that three people sitting in the front row of the aircraft survived and showed video of a man on a stretcher they identified as Zafar Masood, the head of the Bank of Punjab. They reported that at least 11 bodies were recovered from the crash site.

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By: ThisIsButter (42139.00)

Tags: WTF, vehicles, accident, passenger, plane, crash