A Pakistani domestic passenger plane has crashed in a residential area on approach to Karachi airport after reporting trouble with its landing gear.
The Airbus 320 belonging to the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, crashed on a service from Lahore coming in to land at Jinnah International airport.
A total of 99 passengers and eight crew were onboard, a spokesman for the country's civil aviation authority told AP. There was no immediate word of casualties. Britain's High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, said the UK was in touch with local authorities to see if there were British casualties.
Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to try to make the landing repeatedly, circling round at least three times before crashing in a poor neighbourhood called Model Colony is a poor area and heavily congested.
An official said the plane appeared to have trouble with its landing gear and had been advised to go round and try the approach again.
The incident happened on the first day of public holiday for the Eid festival ending of the fasting month of Ramadan. Many Pakistanis are returning home to mark the festivities at home.
Video footage purporting to come from the scene showed plumes of black smoke rising from behind buildings on the ground.
Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash. 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.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 22, 2020
Several houses on the ground were damaged. The incident comes only days after domestic flights resumed, after they were grounded for two months in precautions to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned prime minister, said he was shocked and saddened by the crash.
Pakistan's military said it was sending helicopters and search and rescue teams to the scene. The country's powerful military chief, the Chief of Army Staff issued his condolences.
PIA was once considered one of the world's leading airlines, but its fortunes have sunk in recent decades and its reputation tarnished by delays, cancellations and financial trouble.
In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote north to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.
The airline has been involved in numerous controversies over the years, including the jailing of a drunk pilot in Britain in 2013.