A plane carrying 107 people on board has crashed in Karachi, Pakistan, and all 99 passengers and eight crew members are presumed dead.
Abdul Sattar Kokhar, a spokesman for the country’s civil aviation authority, told reporters the aircraft was arriving from the eastern city of Lahore.
AP reported that airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on Nov. 1, 2019 while PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted on the plane and that “the aicraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety” standards.
Major General Babar Iftikhar, the spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces said in a tweet “precious lives were lost”.
“#COAS (Chief of Army Staff) condoles loss of precious lives in tragic PIA plane crash. Shares grief of bereaved families in this difficult time. COAS directed provision of full assistance to civil administration in rescue/ relief effort,” the tweet read.
Reports quoted witnesses as saying that the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport.
The residential area on the edge of the airport known as Model Colony is a poor area and heavily congested, AP said.
“Videos showing large plumes of smoke from the scene have been posted to social media. Local television reports also showed smoke coming from the direction of the airport. Ambulances were on their way to the airport,” USA TODAY reported.
Airbus did not immediately respond to AP’s request for comment on the crash. The flight typically takes an hour and a half to travel from the northeastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province to Karachi, per AP.