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Pakistan International Airlines passenger flight crashes in Karachi

At least 11 people have been killed after a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed Friday in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, a hospital official said.

Pakistan’s Aviation Ministry said the flight from Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew members.

The 11 bodies were taken to Jinnah Hospital, according to hospital spokesperson Seemi Jamali. It is unclear if those fatalities were victims from the ground or the plane.

A spokesperson for the provincial government of Sindh said at least two passengers on board survived the crash. “Their names are Zafar Masood & Mohd Zubair,” Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet.

Masood is the CEO of the Bank of Punjab, according to Wahab who said she had visited him at Dar Ul Sehat Hospital.

Earlier, local government officials said five survivors were taken to hospital but did not indicate if they were passengers or victims from the ground.

The airliner came down in Model Colony, a busy residential area near Jinnah International airport.

Flight PK 8303 took off from Lahore and was due to land at 2:30 p.m. local time in Karachi but went missing from the radar, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesman Abdullah Khan told CNN.

The pilot of the Airbus A320 airliner made a mayday call saying he was experiencing technical problems, Khan told CNN.

“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.

An emergency response protocol has been activated, he added.

The flight was a special one to help passengers get home for the Eid holidays after the lockdown, Khan said. Pakistan started a phased easing of its nationwide Covid-19 lockdown on May 9.

Friday is the first day of a week-long Eid holiday in Pakistan to mark the end of Ramadan.

Pakistan’s Army sent helicopters to assess the damage and rescue efforts, while urban search and rescue teams are being deployed on the ground, Pakistan’s military tweeted Friday.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society also said it had sent ambulances and rescue workers to the scene.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on Twitter that he was shocked and saddened by the crash. An “immediate inquiry” would be set up, he said.

Pakistan’s civil aviation authority allowed limited domestic air travel to resume Saturday after a two-month suspension imposed as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. International flights are not expected to resume until June 1.

This is not the only crash in recent years involving a PIA aircraft. An ATR-42 twin-engine propeller plane operated by the airline came down in December 2016 near Abbottabad in Pakistan, killing all 47 people on board.

This story has been updated to correct the plane’s flight number.

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