Passenger plane crashes near Karachi airport in Pakistan

A view of the flag of Pakistan on a passenger plane of the airline PIA, Pakistan International Airline.

Emeric Fohlen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane crashed Friday near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, according to the civil aviation authority.

The plane operated by the state-owned airline, reportedly an Airbus A320, was traveling from Lahore and was due to land at the airport in Karachi. There were 107 people on board (99 passengers with eight crew members), according to the aviation authority.

The crash reportedly happened in a residential area of the city called Model Colony, a neighborhood around 2 miles northeast of Jinnah International Airport. “The plane PK 8303 with 99 passengers and 8 crew members has crashed,” said a spokesman for the national carrier, according to Reuters.

Local media said houses had been damaged and reported that the army’s Quick Reaction Force had arrived at the crash site to assist with rescue efforts. Social media footage, unverified by CNBC, showed black plumes of smoke rising from a row of houses.

Pakistan started allowing some domestic flights from May 16, following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. International flights are still reportedly grounded.

Responding to the crash, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked and saddened.”

“Am in touch with PIA CEO Arshad Malik, who has left for Karachi & with the rescue & relief teams on ground as this is the priority right now. Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased,” he said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi added that he was “deeply grieved over (the) devastating plane crash.” “We are in midst of grave challenges as a nation & in these times of trial we must show resolve & unity,” he said.

A spokesperson for Airbus told CNBC the company was aware of a crash in Pakistan and wasn’t abble to confirm details at this time.

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