4th LD: 11 bodies shifted to hospital after passenger plane crashes in Pakistan's Karachi

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ISLAMABAD, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers have shifted at least 11 bodies and 15 injured to a hospital after a passenger plane of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying some 100 people crashed in a residential area Friday afternoon in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, local media and officials said.

Spokesperson of the Jinnah Hospital Seemi Jamali told media that the hospital has received 11 bodies and 15 others who got serious burn injuries.

Minister of Health of the southern Sindh province Azra Fazal Pechuho told Xinhua that she has declared an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi and canceled leaves of all medics to join their duties.

According to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures. Local reports also said that at least two persons onboard, including chief of the Bank of Punjab, survived in the crash with minor injuries.

A spokesperson of the PIA Abdullah Hafeez told media that the passenger plane Airbus 320 crashed at the Model Colony residential adjacent to the Jinnah Garden near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

"The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time for the 90-minutes flight to the country's biggest city Karachi but it crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time," the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said that the pilot of the plane gave mayday call to the airport control and told about some technical fault in the plane, but the plane lost contact with the control tower at 2:37 p.m. local time.

An eyewitness named Irfan told local media that he was at the roof of his house when he saw the plane coming down speedily without any engine sound and it crashed at some houses in a couple of seconds.

Another eyewitness named Umer Murtaza told Xinhua that he was inside his house when he heard a big blast, and when he came out he saw the plane had crashed in his street.

A rescue official said that several people on the ground might have died or seriously injured because the plane destroyed at least five houses, some shops and several vehicles.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the plane crash and loss of precious lives.

The prime minister through Twitter expressed condolences to families of the deceased, saying that an immediate inquiry would be instituted to know the cause of the crash.

Earlier, on Dec. 7, 2016, an ATR-42 aircraft of the PIA crashed en route from northern Chitral district to capital Islamabad, claiming lives of all 48 passengers and crewmembers onboard. Enditem

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