Terrifying final moments of doomed PIA Airbus A320 as it plows into residential neighborhood in Karachi with 99 aboard sending a massive fireball into the sky followed by plume of thick black smoke
- CCTV footage has emerged of the final few moments of a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 aircraft
- The plane could be seen descending quick with its nose pointing into the air as it struggled to maintain height
- Aircraft then disappeared from view before it crashed into buildings in the city of Karachi
- A huge fireball was then witnessed before a thick black plume of smoke could be seen rising into the air
- Witnesses saw the plane attempt to land up to three times before the crash happened on its fourth attempt
- The captain told air traffic control he had lost one of his engines and made a final desperate mayday call
- Emergency authorities including the military have been deployed in a bid to find survivors
- The plane’s pilot Sajjad Gull was the senior most A320 pilot in PIA, with extensive flight experience
- Videos and photos show a wrecked plane door with flaming rubble and debris strewn across the area
Footage has emerged of the final few moments of a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 aircraft before it crashed into buildings in the city of Karachi.
The footage was taken from a security camera perched on top of a rooftop which had a clear view of the skyline as the stricken aircraft was seen descending on Friday.
During the final seconds of the flight, the aircraft can be seen traveling at a steep angle with its nose pointing upwards towards the sky.
Within an instant, the plane is no longer visible as it disappears behind buildings. Moments later, a huge fireball can be seen rising into the air, followed by plume of thick black smoke.
CCTV footage has emerged of the final few moments of a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 aircraft before it crashed into buildings in the city of Karachi
The plane could be seen descending quick with its nose pointing into the air as it struggled to maintain height
The aircraft then disappeared from view before it crashed into buildings in the city of Karachi
A huge fireball was then witnessed before a thick black plume of smoke could be seen rising into the air
The smoke could be seen dominating the Karachi skyline in the moments after the crash
Two passengers, miraculously, survived.
The plane, according to reports, was attempting to land for a second time after aborting the previous attempt in a routine maneuver known as a go-around.
In the final moments before the crash, recorded on a flight tracking website, one of the pilots can be heard telling air traffic control that they had lost both the engines, before sending the international distress message, ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday’.
Eyewitnesses said the plane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses in Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir just a short distance from the airport.
The wreckage and several buildings in the area caught fire.
Soldiers and volunteers collect dead bodies at the site of the crash
Fire brigade staff try to put out fire caused by the plane crash. It’s believed 97 people lost their lives as a result of the crash
Volunteers carry an injured person at the site of a plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan
Security personnel retrieve a body from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in a residential area of Karachi, Pakistan,
A bulldozer works in the wreckage of the Pakistan International Airlines crash today after the Airbus A320 smashed into a residential area of Karachi on Friday
This was the scene as emergency crews rushed to the scene of the plane crash in the Model Colony in Karachi
The plane wreaked devastation when it plowed into a poor residential area
Pakistani security officials stand guard a day after a passenger plane of state run Pakistan International Airlines crashed in a residential area
Ambulances and security force members are seen at the site close to where Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303, traveling from northeastern Lahore, crashed near Jinnah International Airport while landing
A Pakistani security force member is seen at the site near to the crash in the southern port city of Karachi
Army officials were on the streets to assist with the recovery effort in the residential area of Karachi where the crash occured
The residential area where the aircraft came down was sealed off in order for authorities to deal with the aftermath
Volunteers carry the body of a plane crash victim at the site of the crash in Karachi
A man takes picture of the bodies of the victims at a mortuary in Karachi, the day after the crash of a passenger plane
The crash comes just a week after Pakistan resumed flights which had been grounded due to a lockdown imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The alleyway at the centre of the crash was littered with debris from pieces of the plane’s cabin along with personal goods from luggage, which were scattered across vehicles and motorbikes parked in front of homes.
Sarfraz Ahmed, a firefighter at the crash site, said several bodies still had their seatbelts fastened while others were wearing oxygen masks, according to another rescue official at the scene.
After spending hours working in the scorching heat, rescuers and security forces paused briefly for a few minutes to break their Ramadan fasts as they sipped water and nibbled on fruit at dusk while the call to prayer blared before heading back to the crash site.
As night fell over the neighborhood, cranes hoisted lights over the scene allowing rescue teams to continue combing through the wreckage.
The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr — a time when families gather and feast for days after a month of fasting.
Emergency responders spray the wreckage of the Airbus A320 after it crashed into houses in the densely populated Model Colony area of Karchi
Pieces of the wrecked plane lie among the burnt debris at the crash site in Karachi after the crash today
Rescue workers descend on the site of the passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan
Officials sift through the wreckage of the passenger plane as they work next to one of the fallen aircraft’s engines
The battered remains of the plane’s engine can be seen above mere moments after the crash
One of those who survived is Zafar Masood, the manager of the Bank of Punjab, according to a government spokesman.
The bank said he had suffered fractures but was ‘conscious and responding well’.
Another survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again.
After around 10 more minutes of flying, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to make a second attempt, then crashed as he approached the runway, Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi.
‘All I could see around was smoke and fire,’ he added. ‘I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see any people just hear their screams.’
The other 95 passengers and crew are believed to have died.
‘Thank you so much. God has been merciful,’ Mr Masood, the banker who was in seat 1C said, according to officials who spoke to him in hospital after the crash. The other known survivor was named as Muhammad Zubair.
Witnesses said the flight from Lahore had made three failed attempts to land at Jinnah International Airport before ploughing into the Model Colony area of the city on a fourth landing attempt.
The pilot told air traffic control that he had lost both of his engines and a recording has emerged of the captain making a final mayday call before the crash. The Airbus A320-214 model uses a CFM56 engine made by CFM International, a joint venture between US-based General Electric and France’s Safran.
A photo of the aircraft on approach also shows that the landing gear is still up and black scorch marks visible under each engine.
Bank of Punjab president Zafar Masood was dragged from the smoking debris of the Pakistan International Airlines flight after it smashed into houses in Karachi today (left). He is pictured right on a stretcher in pictures aired by Pakistani TV
The other survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again
This picture shared by plane enthusiasts in Pakistan today shows the aircraft shortly before the crash, after it suffered an apparent engine failure. Black scorch marks can be seen beneath each engine and the landing gear is still up
Volunteers carry an injured woman from the crash site after a Pakistan International Airlines came down in a residential area
The plane had been flying from Lahore to Jinnah, which usually takes 90 minutes, before it went down in the Model Colony area as it began its final approach to land at Karachi airport
The air traffic control recording starts after the pilot has already made one failed landing attempt.
The pilot says: ‘We are proceeding direct, sir – we have lost engine’.
‘Confirm your attempt on belly,’ the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.
‘Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,’ the pilot said before the transmission ended.
Videos uploaded on social media show the plane’s final moments as it steadily descends to the shrieks of terrified residents. Witnesses say the plane was so low they felt the walls of their houses tremble and saw the plane tilted on one side.
The chequered safety record of CFM56 engine mounted on Airbus A320
According to Flightradar24, the particular model which crashed today was an Airbus A320-214, which uses an engine called a CFM56-5B4.
CFM International is a joint venture between General Electric of the United States and France’s Safran.
The failure of a pair of CFM engines was blamed for the Kegworth air disaster in 1989, when 47 people were killed after a Boeing 737 crashed into a motorway embankment in Leicestershire.
A fan blade in one of the engines failed around 13 minutes into the British Midland Airways flight, investigators said.
The engine was subsequently modified and cleared to fly again.
In 2018, a CFM56 engine on Southwest flight 1380 blew apart over Pennsylvania about 20 minutes after the Dallas-bound flight left New York. The explosion sent shrapnel ripping into the fuselage of the Boeing 737-700 plane and shattered a window. One person died.
Plumes of smoke smothered the skyline after the Pakistan International Airlines plane smashed into houses among the poor and densely populated area of Model Colony that is two miles from the airport.
The A320 can carry up to 180 passengers, depending on how its cabin is configured.
The Sindh provincial government press department later distributed a photo depicting a second survivor identified as Mohammad Zubair, recovering in a Karachi hospital.
Safety record of the Airbus A320…
There have been 119 aviation incidents and accidents across the Airbus A320 fleet.
The narrow-body airliners are designed and produced by Airbus, and the first A320 was launched in 1987.
The fleet’s first crash happened just a year later in 1988 after the captain of an Air France Flight 296 delayed applying full power as he climbed away, crashing into trees beyond the runway.
Four further crashes happened in the 1990s, including in Bangalore, the Vosges mountains, Warsaw, and the Philippines.
Nine incidents took place in the 2000s and a further 13 happened between 2011 and 2019.
It is believed that 18 of the accidents have been fatal, including more than 1,400 deaths.
A total of 47 hull loss incidents – when the plane is damaged beyond repair – have occurred among the fleet.
Footage showed scenes of chaos with burning rubble and plane debris strewn across the area as hospitals ready themselves for a flurry of victims and the Pakistani Army desperately hunts for survivors. The Prime Minister has pledged to hold an ‘immediate inquiry’ into the crash.
In Pakistan there is fevered speculation that model and actress Zara Abid, who has more than 80,000 Instagram followers, was one of the victims but this has not been confirmed.
However, tributes were being paid to her on Twitter by Pakistani fashion designers and actors.
The official statement confirmed two survivors and said that 17 of the bodies had been ‘identified so far.’
Earlier the airline’s chief executive Arshad Mahmood Malik said in a press conference that only one survivor had been confirmed from the wreckage – the president of the Bank of Punjab, Zafar Masud.
The Airbus had been flying from Lahore to Jinnah, which usually takes 90 minutes, before it went down in the Model Colony area as it began its final approach to land at Karachi airport.
‘The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,’ a PIA spokesman revealed.
‘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.’
A recording posted on monitoring website liveatc.net reveals the pilot told controllers the plane had lost power from both its engines on its second attempt to land.
As it called off an earlier attempt to land and tried for a second time, a controller radioed the pilot and told him he appeared to be turning left, suggesting he was off-course.
The pilot replied, ‘We are returning back, sir, we have lost engines,’ and the controller cleared the plane to land on either of Karachi airport’s two West-Southwest-facing runways.
Twelve seconds later the pilot cried ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday’ and was again cleared to use either runway.
A resident of the area, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try and land before it crashed into several houses and caused roofs to cave in.
‘The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses,’ witness Shakeel Ahmed said near the site, a few miles short of the airport.
The Sindh provincial health department said it had recovered 57 bodies, while PIA chairman Arshad Malik said finding all the dead could take two to three days.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sources said the captain had reported a technical fault before the plane vanished from the radar.
They told News One that communication with the plane was cut off one minute before it was scheduled to touch down.
In Pakistan there is fevered speculation that model and actress Zara Abid, who has more than 80,000 Instagram followers, was one of the victims but this has not been confirmed
However, airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on Nov. 1, 2019.
PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said ‘the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety’ standards.
Seemin Jamali, executive director at the nearby Jinnah Hospital, said 17 dead bodies and six wounded people had been brought in. Three people who were on the ground in the area where the plane crashed were injured.
Rescue workers and local residents pulled people from the debris as firefighters battled to put out the flames.
‘I heard a big bang and woke up to people calling for the fire brigade,’ said Karachi resident Mudassar Ali.
Teenager Hassan said: I was coming from the mosque when I saw the plane tilting on one side. The engines’ sounds were quite weird. It was so low that the walls of my house were trembling.’
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted: ‘Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now.
‘Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.’
The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages.
Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the crash. The flight typically takes an hour and a half from the northeastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, to Karachi.
A relative of one of the victims was pictured standing outside a mobile morgue which was parked near the scene
Rescue workers also used stretchers to carry bodies from the wreckage of the crashed airliner
Another of the survivors, Mohammed Zubair, was pictured in hospital in Karachi as he was spoken to by Pakistani minister Saeed Ghani
Rescuers have pulled a number of people from the debris caused by the crash. It is understood that two passengers survived the crash
A wrecked door from the plane is seen in the residential area of Karachi Model Colony where the Airbus A320 crashed
The plane which crashed is pictured above flying above Dubai International Airport in 2017
A rescuer was seen carrying a baby from the disaster scene. The child is believed to have been from a family living in the residential area where the plane came down
Photos of burning rubble were circulated online in the immediate aftermath of the crash (left) as the Pakistani army is pictured above right rescuing a young child covered in ash
This was the scene of devastation as fire brigade staff used jet hoses to put out the fire. The plane crashed down as it approached Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport
Plumes of smoke billow after the Pakistan International Airlines plane smashed into the residential area
A burning car in the aftermath of the crash sits among rubble (left) as plumes of smoke billow in the air (right)
The crash comes just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume
Emergency crews inspect the destruction as they stand in the rubble after the plane smashed into buildings on Friday
Video footage that has appeared online appears to show the low-flying plane low over houses (left) moments before the fatal crash (right) as smoke bursts into the air
The jet has been identified by tracking website flightradar24.com as a 15-year-old Airbus A320.
In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote northern to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.
PIA, one of the world’s leading airlines until the 1970s, now suffers from a sinking reputation due to frequent cancellations, delays and financial troubles. It has been involved in numerous controversies over the years, including the jailing of a drunk pilot in Britain in 2013.
The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, with many traveling back to their homes in cities and villages.
A child survivor, with its cheek and head bandaged, looks on at the unfolding horror (left) while a Pakistani Army soldier (right) leads another away from the scene
A victim is taken away on a body board as medics scramble to find survivors
Hospital staff prepare to receive the victims of the passenger plane crash
Ambulances arrive at the scene ready to rush victims to hospital
Police have also been spotted blasting water on the charred remains of the aircraft
Emergency authorities have been scrambled to the scene in a desperate attempt to find survivors injured in the crash
A plume of smoke is seen in the aftermath of the crash
Arshad Malik, PIA boss, posted a message of condolence on Twitter
The Pakistan military tweeted that security forces had been deployed to the area and helicopters were being used to survey the damage and help ongoing rescue operations.
The crash comes just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume.
Pakistan has a checkered military and civilian aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.
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