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PIA plane crash: Official documents show aircraft was 'fully airworthy'

AP/Karachi
Filed on May 22, 2020
karachi, pia flight, plane crash, eid, flight 8303

(Reuters)

At least 100 people were onboard flight 8303 that crashed on Friday.

Airworthiness documents of the PIA Airbus A320 plane that crashed on Friday showed the plane last received a government check on November 1, 2019. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said "the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety" standards.

Ownership records for the Airbus A320 showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from 2004 until 2014. The plane then entered PIA's fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services.

Perry Bradley, a spokesman for GE, said the firm was "aware of reports of the accident and is closely monitoring the situation."

Flight 8303 carrying around 107 people onboard crashed Friday in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in Pakistan's port city of Karachi after an apparent engine failure during landing. Officials said there were at least two survivors from the plane, while several residents were injured as the crash damaged many buildings.

The pilot of Pakistani International Airlines was heard transmitting a mayday to the tower shortly before the crash of the Airbus A320, which was flying from Lahore to Karachi.

Witnesses said the Airbus appeared to try to land two or three times.

Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the crash.

The flight from the northeastern city of Lahore typically lasts about an hour and a half.

Video on social media appeared to show the jet flying low over a residential area with flames shooting from one of its engines.

Police wearing protective masks struggled to clear away crowds in the narrow streets of the crash site in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony so ambulances could move through. Police and soldiers cordoned off the area amid the smoke and dust.

Pakistan had resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid Al Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus.

Local TV stations reported three people sitting in the front row of the aircraft survived and showed video of a man on a stretcher they identified as Zafar Masood, the head of the Bank of Punjab. They reported that at least 11 bodies were recovered from the crash site and six people were injured. It was not immediately clear if the casualties were passengers.

Pakistan's civi aviation authority said the plane carried 91 passengers and a crew of seven. Earlier, the airport in the northeastern city of Lahore had said 107 were on board.

A transmission of the pilot's final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt.


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