At least two passengers were pulled alive from the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines flight that crashed into a residential area of the country's largest city, Karachi. According to Pakistan's health department, one of the survivors is Bank of Punjab president Zafar Massood and the other is Muhammad Zubairt. The other 95 passengers and crew are believed dead.
The Airbus A320 crashed after an engine failure early Friday. The flight left from Lahore and made three attempts to land at Jinnah International Airport, witnesses said, reports the Daily Mail. During a fourth failed landing attempt, the plane crashed into the Model Colony area of Karachi. The plane had 91 passengers and seven crew members.
The pilot reported to air traffic control that both engines had failed and the captain made one more mayday call before the crash. The recording began after the pilot already failed to land once. A photo from the scene showed the aircraft's landing gear still up when it tried to make a landing attempt. There were also visible black scorch marks under the engines.
Videos on social media showed the plane falling from the sky quickly, with residents screaming. Some witnesses said the plane was flying so low that their houses shook and they could see the plane tilting one way. The plane crashed in a neighborhood located just two miles from the airport. "The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem," a Pakistan International Airlines spokesman said. "He was told from the final approach that both the runways were ready where he can land, but the pilot decided that he wanted to do (a) go-round... It is a very tragic incident."
The Sindh provincial Health Department first said three passengers survived the crash, but that was later amended to only two. At least three people on the ground were hurt, reports the Associated Press. Local television outlets reported at least 11 bodies were taken from the crash site. "Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash... Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased," Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.
Although the names of the victims have not been confirmed, many in Pakistan fear that Instagram model Zara Abid was on the flight and did not survive. In fact, several tributes sprouted on social media. Pakistani journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq reported on Twitter that Abid survived, citing one of her friends.
The plane was last inspected on Nov. 1, 2019 and passed, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. The plane was previously flown by China Eastern Airlines from 2004 to 2014, and then GE Capital Aviation Services leased it to PIA. The flight took off just days after Pakistan allowed domestic flights due to the upcoming Eid-al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan. Flights had been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. The country has over 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.