Asia

Confirmed PIA plane crash death toll at 41: Airline CEO

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ISLAMABAD: At least 41 people are confirmed to have been killed in a plane crash in a residential area of Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) chief executive said on Friday (May 22).

The Airbus jet with 99 people on board crashed while approaching the airport. Two passengers are known to have survived.

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"Forty-one dead are confirmed in the plane crash," CEO Arshad Malik told a news conference.

He said Pakistan's independent safety investigations agency would inquire into the crash.

"We have recovered 40 plus bodies so far," Major Mohammad Mansoor from the Pakistan Rangers, who was overseeing the rescue operation, told AFP.

Faisal Edhi, who heads the charitable Edhi Foundation that was assisting rescuers, gave a slightly higher figure saying at least 42 dead bodies had been recovered from the area.

"As per our estimates there are around 50 more dead bodies under the debris," he said in a live television broadcast.

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Plumes of smoke were sent into the air as rescue workers and residents searched the debris for survivors and firefighters tried to extinguish the flames. An AFP reporter witnessed charred bodies being loaded into ambulances.

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Sarfraz Ahmed – a firefighter at the crash site – told AFP the nose of the Airbus A320 and the fuselage had been heavily damaged by the impact, adding that rescuers had pulled four bodies from the wrecked aircraft, including some who were still wearing seatbelts.

Seemin Jamali, a director from Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College in the city, said eight dead and 15 injured people had been brought to the facility.

"They were all from the ground, no (plane) passengers have been brought here," she said.

TECHNICAL FAULT

The plane had developed a technical fault, interior minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah said, adding that the pilot issued a mayday call after the craft lost an engine.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said there were 91 passengers and seven crew on board the flight, which lost contact with air traffic control just after 2.30pm (0930 GMT).

An aviation authority spokesperson said the number of crew on board was eight.

Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the plane crashed into a residential area minutes before it was due to land.

A man stands near the debris of a house at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

The Pakistan military said security forces had been deployed to the neighbourhood and helicopters were being used to survey thRead More – Source