Over 97 people have been confirmed dead after an Airbus A320 passenger airliner crashed into a residential neighbourhood while on approach to the airport in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.
Two male passengers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi survived the crash on Friday, a health ministry spokeswoman told Al Jazeera.
There were at least 91 passengers on board the plane, according to an official passenger manifest shared with Al Jazeera by the officials.
Health ministry spokeswoman Meeran Yousuf told Al Jazeera by telephone that 97 people have died, with 66 bodies kept at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi’s largest government hospital and 31 at Civil Hospital Karachi, another leading state-run hospital.
Yousuf said the two survivors were being treated at the hospitals in Karachi, while 19 bodies have been identified so far.
A considerable number of people who were on the ground when the airliner crashed into houses in the densely populated Model Colony area of Karachi, adjacent to the city’s international airport, were being treated for their injuries, she added.
“Our plane [an Airbus] A320 which was coming from Lahore to Karachi was on final approach,” said PIA chief Arshad Malik in a video message released after the crash.
“The last words we heard from our pilot were that there is a technical problem and he was told on final approach that he has both runways available to him to land on. But the pilot decided that he wanted to go around.”
The plane then rapidly lost altitude and crashed short of the runway into the Model Colony neighbourhood, witnesses told the local media.
Dense plumes of black smoke rose above houses in the narrow streets of the neighbourhood, with television footage showing several houses crushed from the impact of the aircraft.
Parts of the plane, including the emergency exit door, were seen strewn in the streets.
Pakistan’s military said it had deployed helicopters to assess the damage and help ferry the dead and wounded to the hospitals.