At least two people survived the crash of a Pakistani airliner that slammed into a residential area of Karachi on Friday, including a bank manager who was seen on local TV lying on a stretcher after being pulled out of the wreckage, according to reports.
Zafar Masood, president of the Bank of Punjab, was removed from the smouldering remains of the Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 after it crashed near the city’s airport during a flight from Lahore, the Daily Mail reported.
A recording posted on monitoring website LiveATC.net reveals that the pilot told air traffic control that the aircraft had lost power during its second attempt to land, the news outlet reported.
A controller informed the pilot that he appeared to be veering left, suggesting he was off course.
Transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control indicated he had failed to land and was circling to make another attempt.
“We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,” the pilot said. “Confirm your attempt on belly,” the controller said, offering a runway.
“Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot then declared.
A senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to lower its landing gear. Witnesses said the plane had made three failed attempts to land at Jinnah International Airport before crashing.
“The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,” an airline spokesman said, the Daily Mail reported.
“He was told from the final approach that both the runways were ready where he can land, but the pilot decided that he wanted to do (a) go-round … It is a very tragic incident,” he added.
Pakistan’s civil aviation authority said there were 91 passengers and seven crew members aboard. Earlier, the airport in Lahore said there were 107 on board.
At least three people on the ground were injured, with at least five houses demolished, officials said.
Video on social media appeared to show the plane flying low over the residential area with flames shooting from one of its two engines.
The plane came to rest in a narrow alley in the impoverished and congested area known as Model Colony between houses smashed by its wings.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar initially said all aboard died, but two civil aviation officials later said there were survivors.