Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A320 crashes near Karachi, Pakistan – 97 fatalities

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On 22 May, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 15.8-year-old Airbus A320 (registered AP-BLD) operated domestic flight PK8303 between Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan. The pilots went around on their first landing attempt on runway 25L at Karachi Airport due to a landing gear extension issue. Just before attempting their second approach, however, the pilots declared a “may-day may-day” to air traffic control adding “we are proceeding direct, we have lost engines“. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft crashed one kilometre short of the runway and burst into flames in the neighbourhood of the Malir Cantonment Jinnah Garden (Model Colony), a residential area just east of the airport.

A PIA spokesman initially said that the aircraft carried 99 passengers and 8 crew members, but Lahore Airport reports 99 people on board (91 passengers duly mentioned in the passenger list and 8 crew).

Ninety-seven people on board died in the crash, but two survivors have been transferred to a hospital. There are also four people in hospital from houses on the crash site.

Last communication between pilots and air traffic control:

  • ATC: appear to be turning left
  • Pilot: we are proceeding direct we have lost engines
  • ATC: runway available to land at 25
  • Pilot: Roger
  • Pilot: Sir Mayday Mayday Mayday Mayday Pakistan 8303
  • ATC: 8303 Roger both runways available to land

Shortly after the crash, members of the Pakistan Army Quick Reaction Force and the Pakistan Rangers Sindh troops reached the crash site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil emergency services. A helicopter of the Pakistan Army Aviation was flown in to assist on damage assessment and rescue efforts.

An important element of Black Box known as Quick Access Record has been recovered from the site, according to The Nation Pakistan. The QAR provides details regarding air traffic communication.

The two black boxes have been retrieved and will be analysed with the assistance of the French BEA.

PK8303 Crisis statement by Airbus

Airbus regrets to confirm that an A320 aircraft operated by Pakistan International Airlines was involved in an accident during flight PK8303 from Lahore to Karachi on May 22, 2020. Initial reports indicate there were 91 passengers and 8 crew members on-board. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

At this stage, Airbus has no confirmed information concerning the circumstances of the accident. The aircraft, registration number AP-BLD, Manufacturer Serial Number 2274, first entered service in 2004. It has been in operation with Pakistan International Airlines since 2014. The aircraft had logged around 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flight cycles as of today. It was powered by CFM56-5B4/P engines.

In line with ICAO annex 13, Airbus is providing full technical assistance to the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses of France and to the Pakistani Authorities in charge of the investigation. Technical support is also being provided by Pakistan International Airlines and engine manufacturer CFM.

Further updates will be provided as soon as further consolidated information is available and Airbus is authorized to release it.

Further scrape-mark evidence on runway 25L corroborates to the scenario that both engines contacted the runway during their first landing attempt. (see tweet below)

Last updated: May, 24 2020, 23:45 CEST

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