An passenger jet, which tracking website flightradar24.com identified as a 15-year-old Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan International Airlines crashed with 107 people on board, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said.
Flight PK 8303 operating from Lahore to Karachi had 99 passengers and 8 crew on board, the CAA said.
It is feared there may be more casualties as the plane came down on houses in the Model Colony area in the city of Karachi.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,” PIA spokesman Abdullah H. Khan said in a video statement.
“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 senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was to early to determine the cause.
— Mansoor Ali Khan (@_Mansoor_Ali) May 22, 2020
It’s the second plane crash for Pakistani carrier in less than four years. The airline’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR-42 aircraft killed 47 people.
The incident comes as Pakistan was slowly resuming domestic flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops have reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration.
“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,” tweeted Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.”
Local TV station Geo showed crowds near the scene which appeared to be a densely populated area and ambulances trying to make their way through. It also showed black smoke billowing from the scene.
Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing near Jinnah International Airport.