A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight with more than 100 people on board crashed in the Pakistani city of Karachi, an airline spokesman said Friday. Pakistan's Aviation Ministry said the flight was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew members when it crashed on approach for landing at the end of a routine 90-minute flight. At least 11 bodies from the scene of the crash were brought to Jinnah Hospital, hospital spokesperson Seemi Jamali told CNN. It's unclear if those fatalities involve victims from the ground or the plane.
Flight PK 8303 reportedly took off from Lahore and was due to land at 2:30 p.m. local time in Karachi, the nation's capital, but went missing from the radar, Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Abdullah Khan told CNN, also saying that an emergency response protocol has been activated. A statement by the Pakistan Army's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Army Quick Reaction Force and Sindh Pakistan Rangers reached the spot for carrying out rescue and relief operations alongside civil administration, according to Tribune India.
Khan told CNN that the pilot of the Airbus A320 airliner made a mayday call saying he was experiencing technical problems. "He had been told both landing strips were available for his use but he preferred to use to go around landing route," Khan told the outlet, adding that PIA was "looking into" the technical issue. "Our prayers for the lives that have been lost," he added.
Footage from the crash posted on social media shows flames, plumes of smoke and rubble in the street in what appears to be a residential area. New Delhi Television Company (NDTV) reports that the flight crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, a densley populated area. The crash comes as Pakistanis are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and beginning of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, with many traveling back to their home cities or villages. Tribune India reports that several houses have been damaged in the area where the aircraft crashed.
The PIA grounded flights in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but began limited services again on May 16, according to Fox News. International flights are not expected to resume until June 1. The Pakistan Armed Forces announced on Twitter that it was using helicopters to assess the damage and continue rescue efforts. In another tweet, the agency wrote that it "condoles loss of previous lives in tragic PIA plane crash" and "shares grief of bereaved families in this difficult time." At press time, the casualties from the plane crash were unclear.