At least 80 dead after passenger plane crashed near Karachi airport in Pakistan

Firefighters spray water on the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22.

Rizwan Tabassum | AFP | Getty Images

At least 80 people were killed following the Friday crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying around 100 people, Reuters reported, citing provincial health authorities.

The crash occurred near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, according to the country’s civil aviation authority. The plane attempted to land twice before the crash occurred, according to Reuters.

The plane operated by the state-owned airline, reportedly an Airbus A320, was traveling from Lahore and was due to land at the airport in Karachi. 

Rescue workers gather at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed in a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020.

Rizwan Tabassum | AFP | Getty Images

The crash reportedly happened in a residential area of the city called Model Colony, a neighborhood around 2 miles northeast of Jinnah International Airport. It was not clear how many of the people killed, if any, were on the ground at the time of the crash.

A spokesman for the national carrier said the flight, PK 8303, had 99 passengers and 8 crew members, but other reports stated there were 99 people on board in total. 

Two people on board the plane survived the crash, Reuters reported on Saturday. Reports identified one of them as Zafar Masood, president of the Bank of Punjab. The commercial financial institution is based in Lahore.

Rescue workers move a body from the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020.

Asif Hassan | AFP | Getty Images

Local media said houses were damaged and that the army’s Quick Reaction Force arrived at the crash site to assist with rescue efforts. Social media footage, unverified by CNBC, showed black plumes of smoke rising from a row of houses.

Pakistan started allowing some domestic flights from May 16, following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. International flights are still reportedly grounded.

Responding to the crash, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked and saddened.”

“Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased,” Khan said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi added that he was “deeply grieved over (the) devastating plane crash.” “We are in midst of grave challenges as a nation & in these times of trial we must show resolve & unity,” he said.

A spokesperson for Airbus told CNBC on Friday that the company was aware of a crash in Pakistan and wasn’t able to confirm details.

“At this stage, Airbus has no confirmed information concerning the circumstances of the accident,” the spokesman said, adding that the manufacturer is providing assistance to Pakistani and French investigators. Under international aviation rules the country in which the incident took place leads the investigation while the government from the nation where the aircraft was manufactured, as well as that company, also participate.

—CNBC’s Ted Kemp contributed to this report.

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