PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez confirmed the crash and added that the A320 Airbus, PK 8303, was carrying 90 passengers and 8 crew members from Lahore to Karachi.
Director Programming 24 News Ansar Naqvi and Bank of Punjab President Zafar Masood were among the passengers. Masood’s family has confirmed that he survived the crash. Details are awaited of other passengers.
The plane crashed only moments before its expected landing.
PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi, said the pilot told the control room that there was a technical issue and he decided to go around rather than land even though two runways were ready for landing.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said the plane fell in a populated area. “The concern now is of casualties of people in the area. Rangers and rescue services have been sent, we are trying to save as many lives as possible.”
Footage showed plumes of smoke rising from the site of the crash within the congested residential area. Ambulances and rescue officials arrived at the scene to help residents. Eyewitness told DawnNewsTV that the plane was on fire in the air before crashing.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa condoled “loss of precious lives”. “[COAS] Shares grief of bereaved families in this difficult time. COAS directed provision of full assistance to civil administration in rescue/ relief effort,” said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
A statement by ISPR said Army Quick Reaction Force and Sindh Pakistan Rangers reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration.