A Pakistan passenger plane with 107 people believed to be on board crashed in the southern city of Karachi on Friday.
Images aired on national television showed the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight had smashed into a residential area, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.
“The plane crashed in Karachi. We are trying to confirm the number of passengers but initially it is 99 passengers and eight crew members,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the spokesman for the country’s aviation authority.
He said the flight was coming from Lahore. The flight typically takes an hour and a half from the northeastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, to Karachi.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked & saddened” by the crash in a statement posted to Twitter Friday.
“Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased,” the statement continued.
The Pakistan Armed Forces also commented on the incident in a tweet from official spokesperson, Major General Babar Iftikhar.
“#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.
Witnesses said 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, USA today reported.
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.
The last words of the pilot flying the Airbus 320 were ‘my plane has a fault’. Replying to the pilot, the air traffic control said, “Just turn the plane and try to land.”