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Pakistan Plane Crash Survivor Recounts the Horror

Pakistan Plane Crash Survivor Recounts the Horror

KARACHI – A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) jetliner crash killed 97 of the 99 people that were on board. One survivor, 24-year-old Mohammad Zubair, talked about his ordeal, as rumors of potential engine failure emerge.
Mohammad Zubair, 24, recounted on Saturday how he heard “children crying” as he tried to climb through the debris of the crashed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) jetliner.
Zubair is one of only two victims who survived the fatal crash on Friday, with the only remaining survivor being Zafar Masood, a Bank of Punjab bank executive.
When PK8303, a Lahore-to-Karachi Airbus A320, started shaking violently, Zubair said he thought it was just turbulence. The pilot then declared on the intercom that it would be “troublesome” to land.
“The plane all of a sudden jerked violently, again and again,” he said.
Moments later, the plane crashed into an overcrowded residential district of Karachi known as the Model Colony as it approached the international airport.
“I’ve seen so much smoke and fire. I’ve heard people crying and kids crying,” Zubair said.
The survivor succeeded in crawling his way out of the rubble and smoke and eventually was rushed to a hospital. He was suffering from burns but in a stable state.
On Saturday, PIA said rescue workers had found the flight data recorder from the crash which killed 97 of the 99 passengers and crew on board. The carrier said it would turn over the black box to investigators.
According to local media sources, another three people were injured at the site.
Officials said all bodies had been recovered from the scene. But a spokeswoman for the provincial health department, Meeran Yousaf, said only 19 of the dead bodies were identified.
Failed engine?
A PIA spokeswoman said air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft on the approach to Karachi’s international airport on Friday just after 2:30 pm local time.
Pakistani Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah said that a technical problem had been created in the aircraft.
A recording of the pilot’s transmission of the final exchange with air traffic control posted on the LiveATC.net website revealed that the pilot had failed to land and was circling for another attempt to make.
“We are going straight forward, sir, we have lost the engine,” said the pilot. “Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday, maybe 8303 Pakistan,” the pilot said before the transmission was over.
Meanwhile, Arshad Mahmood Malik, chief executive of the PIA, told reporters that the plane was safe to fly later Friday. “Technically everything was in order, operationally,” he said.
Pilot Sajjad Gul has been described by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan as the senior-most A320 pilot with extensive flight experience.
Airbus said in a statement that the aircraft first entered service in 2004 and was purchased a decade later by PIA and had logged about 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flights as of Friday.
Airworthiness records last revealed the aircraft received a government test on November 1 last year.
The Chief Engineer of PIA signed a separate certificate April 28 claiming that all repairs had been carried out. It noted that “the aircraft is completely airworthy and complies with all safety requirements.”
Independent research conducted
Malik said he would hold an impartial inquiry. Airbus said it would provide technical assistance to investigators in France and Pakistan, as well as to producers of PIA and engines.
“Airbus will provide full assistance to the investigative authorities,” Guillaume Faury, executive director, tweeted.
The Pakistan Airlines ‘Pilots Association has demanded a thorough investigation into the crash and has called for the involvement of bodies including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations in the probe, reports the Pakistani English daily Dawn.
Premier Imran Khan of Pakistan said he was “shocked and saddened” by the crash.
“Prayers & condolences go to deceased families,” he tweeted.
The country had resumed domestic flights just earlier this week, ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holidays, which marks the end of Ramadan’s holy month.
Many of the passengers onboard the flight were entire families who were returning for the Eid holiday together.
The crash comes to Pakistan as a double blow, with many devastated families already arranging funerals for COVID-19 victims.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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