Karachi / Islamabad:
Fazal Rahmaan, 80, and his wife, Wahida Rahmaan, 74, boarded a plane in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Friday, their family’s biggest fear was that they might catch the coronavirus on their way to spend the holidays in Karachi.
Instead, the couple, married for 54 years, were among the 97 people killed when an Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan International Airlines, crashed in a district of Karachi – Pakistan’s worst air disaster since 2012.
“We had many calls to chat with the doctors and family … Our biggest concern was that they had made the trip safely,” said their son, Inam Ur Rahmaan, who, instead of welcoming his parents for the feast of Eid al-Fitr, found himself looking for the wreckage of flight PK8303 praying for a miracle.
“I got into my car and followed the smoke and the ambulances,” said Rahmaan.
“When I saw the area, I realized it would be a miracle if they had done it.”
There were two survivors on board the aircraft, while no fatalities were reported on the ground in the densely populated area of multi-story houses adjoining the eastern edge of Jinnah International Airport where the aircraft is grave.
More than two dozen houses were damaged as the airliner roared, leaving a tangle of cut electrical cables and exposed rebar – a broken wing rested against the side of a house, an engine on the ground at proximity.
Kerosene set fire to the wreckage, as well as to homes and vehicles, sending black smoke into the sky, said a Reuters witness.
Crowds rushed to the site, relatives looking for relatives, rescuers and the curious. Dozens of ambulances and fire trucks invaded the narrow streets cluttered with debris.
A rescuer told Reuters that two bodies were found with oxygen masks. Many bodies uprooted from the wreckage were charred beyond recognition.
The airline’s CEO said Friday that the last message from the pilot indicated a technical problem. An Airbus team is scheduled to arrive on Monday to investigate, a PIA spokesperson said.
“They will provide all possible assistance, including decoding the black box,” said spokesman Khan, referring to the flight data recorder.
SCREAMS AND FIRE
Shahid Ahmed, 45, was at the airport awaiting the arrival of his mother. When he reached the accident site, he saw rescuers recovering bodies and people taking selfies.
“There was no one responsible at the site, people were busy posing for photos,” said Ahmed, distraught, who lost his mother, 75-year-old Dishad Begum, who was also traveling to Karachi for the Eid.
After browsing the site and not having found his mother, Ahmed went to look for her in hospitals.
“There was no list of dead or injured in any of the hospitals, it was all chaos and mismanagement,” said Ahmed, who was sobbing as he recounted the ordeal.
“Finding our mother’s body was a nightmare.”
One of the survivors, engineer Muhammad Zubair, told Geo News that the pilot descended to land, landed briefly, and then stopped again.
He said he would try again shortly before the plane crashed, Zubair said from the hospital.
“I could hear screams from all directions. Children and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn’t see anyone – just hear their screams,” he said.
Rahmaan said his family was still in shock.
“There is no Eid with us,” he said.
Rahmaan said he was reassured to know that his parents had always wanted to be together.
“Whatever happens, for whatever reason, they always wanted to be together. In the end, they were together.”
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)