Passenger plane with 107 aboard crashes in residential area

Fire brigade staff try to put out fire caused by plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, May 22, 2020. An aviation official says a passenger plane belonging to state-run Pakistan International Airlines carrying more than 100 passengers and crew has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi. There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistan International Airlines plane with107 people aboard crashed on Friday in a residential area near the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, officials said.

The plane, Flight 8303, an Airbus A320, was en route from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi.

No information about casualties was immediately available.

Initial reports said the plane had skidded off the rooftops of several houses before bursting into flame. Thick plumes of smoke billowed up from the crash site.

Officials said civil and military officials had begun a rescue operation.

Indian television channels showed large crowds packed into the neighborhood near the crash site, with people rushing toward ambulances as black smoke clogged the sky. One man carried a young boy in his arms as he ran past journalists and emergency workers.

The A320 typically has around 180 seats. An Airbus spokesman, Stefan Schaffrath, said the company was aware of reports about the crash but had no details.

Muslims around the world are about to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday dedicated to the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. News channels said many of the passengers were traveling home to be with family for the holiday.

Syed Shibli Faraz, the Pakistani information minister, said the crash was “a very tragic incident just before Eid.” Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked and saddened.”

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