Two passengers have survived the A320 crash in Pakistan, including Zafar Masood, manager of the Bank of Punjab, according to a government spokesman.
The bank said he had suffered fractures but was ‘conscious and responding well’.
The other survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again.
After around 10 more minutes of flying, the pilot announced to passengers he was going to make a second attempt, then crashed as he approached the runway, Zubair said from his bed in Civil Hospital Karachi.
‘All I could see around was smoke and fire,’ he added. ‘I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see any people just hear their screams.’
The other 95 passengers and crew are believed to have died.
‘Thank you so much. God has been merciful,’ Mr Masood, the banker who was in seat 1C said, according to officials who spoke to him in hospital after the crash. The other known survivor was named as Muhammad Zubair.
Witnesses said the flight from Lahore had made three failed attempts to land at Jinnah International Airport before ploughing into the Model Colony area of the city on a fourth landing attempt.
Pakistan’s civil aviation authority said the plane had 91 passengers and a crew of seven.
The pilot told air traffic control that he had lost both of his engines and a recording has emerged of the captain making a final mayday call before the crash. The Airbus A320-214 model uses a CFM56 engine made by CFM International, a joint venture between US-based General Electric and France’s Safran.
A photo of the aircraft on approach also shows that the landing gear is still up and black scorch marks under each engine.
The air traffic control recording starts after the pilot has already made one failed landing attempt.
Bank of Punjab president Zafar Masood was dragged from the smoking debris of the Pakistan International Airlines flight after it smashed into houses in Karachi today (left). He is pictured right on a stretcher in pictures aired by Pakistani TV
The other survivor, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News the pilot came down for one landing, briefly touched down, then took off again
This picture shared by plane enthusiasts in Pakistan today shows the aircraft shortly before the crash, after it suffered an apparent engine failure. Black scorch marks can be seen beneath each engine and the landing gear is still up
A bulldozer works in the wreckage of the Pakistan International Airlines crash today after the Airbus A320 smashed into a residential area of Karachi on Friday
This was the scene as emergency crews rushed to the scene of the plane crash in the Model Colony in Karachi
Volunteers carry an injured woman from the crash site after a Pakistan International Airlines came down in a residential area
The plane had been flying from Lahore to Jinnah, which usually takes 90 minutes, before it went down in the Model Colony area as it began its final approach to land at Karachi airport
The pilot says: ‘We are proceeding direct, sir – we have lost engine’.
‘Confirm your attempt on belly,’ the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.
‘Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,’ the pilot said before the transmission ended.
Videos uploaded on social media show the plane’s final moments as it steadily descends to the shrieks of terrified residents. Witnesses say the plane was so low they felt the walls of their houses tremble and saw the plane tilted on one side.
The chequered safety record of CFM56 engine mounted on Airbus A320
According to Flightradar24, the particular model which crashed today was an Airbus A320-214, which uses an engine called a CFM56-5B4.
CFM International is a joint venture between General Electric of the United States and France’s Safran.
The failure of a pair of CFM engines was blamed for the Kegworth air disaster in 1989, when 47 people were killed after a Boeing 737 crashed into a motorway embankment in Leicestershire.
A fan blade in one of the engines failed around 13 minutes into the British Midland Airways flight, investigators said.
The engine was subsequently modified and cleared to fly again.
In 2018, a CFM56 engine on Southwest flight 1380 blew apart over Pennsylvania about 20 minutes after the Dallas-bound flight left New York. The explosion sent shrapnel ripping into the fuselage of the Boeing 737-700 plane and shattered a window. One person died.
Plumes of smoke smothered the skyline after the Pakistan International Airlines plane smashed into houses among the poor and densely populated area of Model Colony that is two miles from the airport.
The A320 can carry up to 180 passengers, depending on how its cabin is configured.
The Sindh provincial government press department later distributed a photo depicting a second survivor identified as Mohammad Zubair, recovering in a Karachi hospital.
Safety record of the Airbus A320…
There have been 119 aviation incidents and accidents across the Airbus A320 fleet.
The narrow-body airliners are designed and produced by Airbus, and the first A320 was launched in 1987.
The fleet’s first crash happened just a year later in 1988 after the captain of an Air France Flight 296 delayed applying full power as he climbed away, crashing into trees beyond the runway.
Four further crashes happened in the 1990s, including in Bangalore, the Vosges mountains, Warsaw, and the Philippines.
Nine incidents took place in the 2000s and a further 13 happened between 2011 and 2019.
It is believed that 18 of the accidents have been fatal, including more than 1,400 deaths.
A total of 47 hull loss incidents – when the plane is damaged beyond repair – have occurred among the fleet.
Footage showed scenes of chaos with burning rubble and plane debris strewn across the area as hospitals ready themselves for a flurry of victims and the Pakistani Army desperately hunts for survivors. The Prime Minister has pledged to hold an ‘immediate inquiry’ into the crash.
In Pakistan there is fevered speculation that model and actress Zara Abid, who has more than 80,000 Instagram followers, was one of the victims but this has not been confirmed.
However, tributes were being paid to her on Twitter by Pakistani fashion designers and actors.
The official statement confirmed two survivors and said that 17 of the bodies had been ‘identified so far.’
Earlier the airline’s chief executive Arshad Mahmood Malik said in a press conference that only one survivor had been confirmed from the wreckage – the president of the Bank of Punjab, Zafar Masud.
The Airbus had been flying from Lahore to Jinnah, which usually takes 90 minutes, before it went down in the Model Colony area as it began its final approach to land at Karachi airport.
‘The last we heard from the pilot was that he has some technical problem,’ a PIA spokesman revealed.
‘He was told from the final approach that both the runways were ready where he can land, but the pilot decided that he wanted to do (a) go-round… It is a very tragic incident.’
A recording posted on monitoring website liveatc.net reveals the pilot told controllers the plane had lost power from both its engines on its second attempt to land.
As it called off an earlier attempt to land and tried for a second time, a controller radioed the pilot and told him he appeared to be turning left, suggesting he was off-course.