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107 killed as Pakistani passenger plane crashes near Karachi

The aircraft arriving from the eastern city of Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew.

Image: Fareed Khan/AP/Press Association Images

A PASSENGER PLANE belonging to state-run Pakistan International Airlines has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi, killing all 107 passengers and crew, the city’s mayor said.

The aircraft crashed into a crowded neighbourhood on the edge of the airport.

Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash, but it was not immediately known how many casualties there were in the residential area.

The aircraft arriving from the eastern city of Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew members, said Abdul Sattar Kokhar of the country’s civil aviation authority.

The authority said the pilot called in a mayday saying that he had lost an engine, and was attempting to land when the plane crashed.

Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport. The residential area known as Model Colony is a poor area and densely populated.

A resident, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try to land before it crashed into several houses.

Police and military cordoned off the area.

Prime minister Imran Khan tweeted: “Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. . . Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.”

Local television reports showed smoke coming from the direction of the airport, and video of the aircraft flying low over a residential area seemed to show flames shooting from one of the engines.

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The flight typically takes an hour and a half from the north-eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, to Karachi.

Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on November 1.

PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted on the plane and that it was “fully airworthy and meets all the safety” standards.

Ownership records for the Airbus A320 involved in the crash showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from 2004 until 2014. The plane then entered PIA’s fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services.

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