Pakistan airliner crash survivor says pilot warned of ‘troublesome’ landing seconds before crash,Read Here

He said the aircraft made three attempts to land, once seeming to almost land and then take off again.

PAKISTAN: Moments before the Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed into a crowded neighbourhood near Karachi’s international airport, surviving passenger Mohammad Zubair says the pilot warned over the intercom that the landing would be “troublesome”.

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In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Mr Zubair, a mechanical engineer, said flight PK8303 had taken off on time from the eastern city of Lahore at 1:00pm Friday, having a smooth, uneventful journey until it began its descent near Karachi.

He said the aircraft made three attempts to land, once seeming to almost land and then take off again.

“Suddenly the plane jerked violently, once and then again,” Mr Zubair said.

Mr Zubair said the aircraft turned and the pilot’s voice came over the intercom.

The pilot said they were experiencing engine trouble and the landing could be “troublesome”. That was the last thing Mr Zubair remembered until he woke up in a scene of chaos.

Mr Zubair says the pilot came on the intercom to warn that the landing could be “troublesome.” Moments later, the Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed.(AP: Fareed Khan)

“I saw so much smoke and fire,” he said.

“I heard people crying, children crying.”

He managed to crawl out of the smoke and rubble, and was eventually pulled from the ground and rushed into an ambulance.

The plane, belonging to state-run airline Pakistani International Airlines (PIA), crashed near the southern port city of Karachi on Friday (local time) killing 97 of the 99 people on board.

Mr Zubair was one of only two people to survive.

An aviation official says the passenger plane was carrying nearly 100 passengers and crew when it crashed near Karachi’s airport.(AP: Fareed Khan)

“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem[s],” PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement.

Inquiry begins

Army and civil administration personnel had begun clearing through the debris in the Karachi neighbourhood on Saturday and assisting residents whose homes had been damaged.

Officials said the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder had been found and initial inquiries would begin shortly.

The airline’s chief executive, Arshad Malik, said the last message received from the pilot indicated there was a technical problem.

Seconds before the crash, the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines, according to a recording of the black box.

Black box recordings show seconds before the crash the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines.(AP: Fareed Khan)

Airbus said the jet first flew in 2004 and was fitted with engines built by CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and France’s Safran.

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Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, announced soon after the crash there would be an inquiry, with the Government’s aviation division saying it would be be led by a four-member team.

The team will include three members of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board and one from the Pakistan Air Force’s safety board.

They will issue a preliminary statement within a month, the aviation division said.

Families struggle to bury dead as bodies hard to identify

Meeran Yousaf, the provincial Health Department spokeswoman, said only 21 of the victims from Friday’s crash had been identified, with most of the bodies badly burned.

Eight people on the ground were injured. Ms Yousaf said three were still in hospital, with all residents accounted for.

The plane crashed near Jinnah International Airport, in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafiz Khan said the aircraft destroyed or heavily damaged 18 homes.

People carry the coffins of those killed in a plane crash during a funeral service.(Reuters: Akhtar Soomro)

The airliner ploughed into the crowded Model Colony neighbourhood as many of the men of of the area were gathered at nearby mosques for weekly Friday prayers, perhaps explaining why the number of injured on the ground was just eight, mostly women and children.

Pakistan had only earlier this week resumed domestic flights ahead of Eid-al Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

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Many of the passengers aboard the flight were families returning home for the holiday, Science Minister Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry said.

Between the coronavirus pandemic and the plane crash, this year has been a “catastrophe”, he said.

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