KARACHI | “there was shouting everywhere,” says Mohammad Zubair, one of the two survivors of the crash of an Airbus A320 Friday on a residential area of Karachi, the largest city in the south of Pakistan, in which 97 people were killed.
After the plane hit the ground, “I regained consciousness” and ” I saw the fire everywhere. No one was visible, ” recalls the young man of 24 years, with 53 seconds interview from his hospital bed became viral on social networks. “There were cries of children, adults and the elderly, screams everywhere. Everyone was trying to survive. ”
“I opened my seat belt, I saw the light and I tried to go in this direction. It has market. From there, I jumped out of the aircraft, ” he continued in a clear voice, the face, visibly unscathed after the disaster.
After a part of the ministry of Health in Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital, Mohammad Zubair suffers from burns, but his condition is stable.
The other miracle is the president of the Bank of Punjab, one of the largest banks in the country, Zafar Masud said the president of the company Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Arshad Malik.
The A320 PIA from Lahore has crashed into a residential area as it approached Friday in the early afternoon from the airport of Karachi after a technical failure, killing 97 of the 99 persons on board, including eight crew members, according to multiple sources.
Only four people have been injured on the ground, according to the authorities, after initial reports of deaths among the residents on Friday.
The rescue operations have ended on Saturday at dawn, according to the authorities. Throughout the day Friday, rescue workers and locals had searched through the rubble to search for bodies. An AFP journalist saw corpses charred loaded aboard an ambulance.
The flight PK8303 “has lost contact with air traffic control at 5: 30 p.m.” Friday, said the spokesman of PIA Abdullah Hafeez.
A record authenticated by a spokesman of PIA heard a distress call from the pilot to the control tower, in which he says : “We’ve lost engines “.
The black box of the plane has been found and passed on to investigators, announced Saturday night, the CEO Arshad Malik.
While the pilot was experienced, according to the minister of Aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the unit, commissioned in 2004, was under the colors of PIA that since 2014, according to a press release from Airbus.
Stuck in the emergency exit
“I saw a passenger out of the plane. (…) He was in life. He was talking about. He asked me to save him, but his legs were stuck in the emergency exit, “said Raja Amjad, a witness who had previously seen a corpse” fall on his car “.
Sarfraz Ahmed, a firefighter, told the AFP that many of the victims still had their safety belt fastened.
At least 21 people have so far been identified, some of which have already been buried. A major, who died with his wife and their two children, received a military funeral, his coffin being covered with the national flag, found the AFP. At least two other officers were laid to rest in Karachi.
DNA tests are carried out at the university of Karachi to determine who are the other victims.
According to the minister of foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the aircraft had on board ” a lot of people returning home for the Eid el-Fitr, celebrating the end of ramadan, the most important festival for the muslims.
The accident occurs just days after the country has allowed the resumption of flights commercial interiors, suspended for more than a month to combat the spread of the new coronavirus. Very few international flights had been maintained.
Frequent crashes of aircraft and helicopters civil and military products to Pakistan over the years.
The last air accident of magnitude in the country dates back to December 2016. One plane of PIA, performing a domestic flight crashed in the mountainous north, killing 47 people.
PIA was one of the world’s largest airlines until the 1970s. But years of financial losses, mismanagement and delays have tarnished his reputation.
The company has been involved in many controversies. Between march and November 2007, its entire fleet with the exception of eight planes had been placed on the black list of the european Union.