Many people are feared dead after a Pakistan International Airlines flight with 107 passengers crashed into a densely populated residential area in Karachi, on Friday.
Igbere TV gathered that the plane was about to land when it developed technical issues, crashing into a Garden in Malir, near the Jinnah International Airport.
The aircraft was said to be carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew members. It had taken off from Lahore and was due to land before it went off the radar, officials say.
Authorities say the plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sending plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen from some distance away.
The Pakistan military said security forces had been deployed to the area and helicopters were being used to survey the damage and help ongoing rescue operations.
Spokesman Abdullah Khan told newsmen 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 the go around landing route, we are looking into the technical issue. Our prayers for the lives that have been lost,” Khan said.
A senior civil aviation official said it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was too early to determine the actual cause.
Igbere TV gathered that the Minister of Health had declared emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi following the incident, for quick medical attention to be given to any survivor.
On his part, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, in a tweet sighted by Igbere TV on his official Twitter handle, said he was saddened about the plane crash.
“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,” Khan tweeted.
Pakistan resumed limited domestic commercial flights last week, after a months-long suspension due to the coronavirus. Flights are operating with reduced capacity to ensure that passengers are sitting with one seat’s space between them in the cabin.