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Jetliner With 99 Aboard Crashes Into Crowded Pakistani Neighborhood

Volunteers and soldiers looked for survivors of the plane crash in a residential area of Karachi, Pakistan on Friday.
Volunteers and soldiers looked for survivors of the plane crash in a residential area of Karachi, Pakistan on Friday.Fareed Khan/Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistan International Airlines plane with at least 99 people aboard including military and business figures crashed Friday in a residential neighborhood near the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and officials reported dozens of deaths and injuries.

The plane, Flight 8303, an Airbus A320, was en route from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi and crashed at 2:37 p.m., officials said.

There were at least 91 passengers and eight crew members on board, Pakistani officials said. Nasir Hussain Shah, a provincial minister, said at least two people had survived the crash but had injuries.

Among the passengers were military officers, a former parliamentarian, an executive of a major television news channel, and several prominent bankers from national and international banks, officials said. The president of Bank of Punjab, one of Pakistan’s largest lenders, survived with injuries, according to the national airline, Pakistan International Airline, or PIA.

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As the plane approached the airport, it turned around, circling, before attempting to land again, officials and witnesses said. As the airplane approached the airport in a final attempt to land, it clipped the rooftops of several houses near the runway before crashing into the street of the neighborhood, called Model Colony. Thick plumes of smoke billowed from the crash site, the images broadcast to the nation on local television networks, which showed charred rooftops and several houses and vehicles on fire.

Officials said the scene would complicate recovery efforts as the neighborhood was crammed with houses and a winding, narrow street leading into it. Several survivors and bodies were trapped under the rubble, and the rescue operation would take two to three days to complete, Malik said during a news conference.