Two people survived Friday’s plane crash in the city of Karachi that killed 97 people, a provincial health ministry official said Saturday.
A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 passenger jet with 99 people on board crashed in a residential area minutes before its scheduled landing Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s largest city, destroying multiple buildings on both sides of a narrow street.
A ministry spokesperson said in a statement Saturday that 66 bodies had been taken from the aircraft to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi and 31 other bodies were transported to Civil Hospital Karachi.
The statement also said there were no deaths confirmed on the ground.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said Saturday the plane’s black box was recovered late Friday and would be given to investigators. So-called black boxes contain the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder on aircraft.
Airline CEO Arshad Malik said Friday the final message from the pilot indicated there was a technical problem aboard the aircraft.
The Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association said it must take part in the investigation of the crash. It also called for the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations to be on the investigation team.
Rescue efforts were initially made difficult by huge plumes of dust, smoke and heat from the crash on an already hot afternoon, along with narrow neighborhood streets.
Crews continued rescue and debris clearing efforts in the area on Saturday.
VOA Video of Cleanup Operations at the Crash Site
The Airbus A320 from the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines was flying from Lahore to Karachi when it crashed in an area called Model Colony.
Witnesses said the plane seemed to try to land two or three times before it went down in the poor and heavily congested area.
Video on social media appeared to show the plane with flames shooting from one of its engines.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted he was “Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. … Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased."
The plane had a capacity of about 160 passengers, but due to social distancing guidelines, the onboard numbers were kept lower.
Pakistan has a mixed civilian and military aviation safety record. A number of plane and helicopter accidents have occurred over the years, including the 2016 crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane that killed 40 people.
The deadliest accident happened in 2010, when an Airbus A321 operated by Airblue, a private carrier, crashed and killed all 152 people on board.
Friday’s crash occurred as many Pakistanis were returning to their homes to celebrate the end of Ramadan and beginning of the Eid al-Fitr festivities that break their fast.