A CCTV footage has captured the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane that crashed near the Karachi Airport while attempting to Belly land after its landing gear failed due to technical error. More than 100 passengers and crew were onboard, majority of which are presumed dead as 40 bodies have already been recovered from the debris.
The Airbus A320 crashed on Friday in a densely-populated residential area of the city of Karachi, a few days after the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions were lifted in the country.
Flight PK-8303 from Lahore was about to land in Karachi when it crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, just a minute before its landing, said officials.
A CCTV footage now shows final moments of plane approaching the runway to attempt a belly landing. As per the leaked conversation between the pilot and the ATC controllers, pilot attempted a belly landing after realizing the landing gear has failed to operate. His initial attempt goes in vein and as seen in the photographs captured by watchers nearby, both the engines received underbody scraping.
The pilot than proceeded for touch and go and came back for another attempt to land the plane again on the belly. For the uninitiated, belly landing means when the plane has to be landed with its underbody touching the runway as landing gear is not operational. This move is immensely dangerous and can prove to be fatal if gone wrong.
This type of landing is only done in case of emergency. However, just a minute before landing the plane again on the belly, the pilot lost control of the craft and it crashed in the nearby residential area. At least 4 houses were reported to be damaged.
By Friday evening, the bodies of 41 people had been recovered, said the airline's chief executive Arshad Mahmood Malik in a press conference, adding the full clearance operation could last two to three days. He said only one survivor had been confirmed from the wreckage -- the president of the Bank of Punjab, Zafar Masud.
However, provincial officials reported at least two survivors, and said at least 60 dead bodies had been recovered.
Faisal Edhi, who heads the charitable Edhi foundation that was assisting rescuers, said 45 bodies have been recovered so far. "Our rescue workers have taken out 45 bodies from the remains of the aircraft," he said.