Update (0650ET): A search and rescue – as well as a damage-assessment – effort has been launched by Pakistani authorities.
Update #PIA Incident:
Pak Army Aviation helicopters flown for damage assessment and rescue efforts.
Urban Search & Rescue Teams are being sent on site for rescue efforts.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) May 22, 2020
* * *
In a shocking incident that may further impact the popularity of air travel at a time when passenger volume is only just starting to rebound from the biggest drop in history, a Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying 107 passengers has crashed-landed in a Karachi neighborhood.
The flight had reportedly traveled from Lahore to Karachi, and had almost reached its destination at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in a neighborhood just outside Karachi’s Jinnah International Airpor, raising the possibility that the crash occurred during the process of landing the plane.
Video of the scene seems to show the plane crashing in a residential neighborhood just outside the airport, suggesting the crash happened minutes after takeoff.
— Javed Nayab Laghari (@JavedNLaghari) May 22, 2020
— منہ کھول پلیز (@MunhKholPls) May 22, 2020
Bloomberg just confirmed that the Airbus 320 jet was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crewmembers.
BREAKING: A Pakistan International Airlines plane flying from Lahore to Karachi has crashed, the Civil Aviation Authority says.
The Airbus jet was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew members pic.twitter.com/hTvtUVZHLX
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 22, 2020
— Abdul Hadi Kaim Khani (@abdulhadikk) May 22, 2020
No word yet on the type of plane involved in the crash, or on the number of casualties.
The crash comes amid the Eid holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan, one of the most important celebrations on the Islamic religious calendar. While Pakistan has been struggling with the coronavirus since the first cases were confirmed in late February, the country has reported ~50k cases, and ~1k deaths – less than half the numbers from its larger rival, neighboring India.