One of the two people who survived a plane crash in Pakistan that killed 97 people described how he jumped out of the burning rubble after the plane crashed into a residential area.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane landed between the houses on Friday afternoon after both engines failed when it approached Karachi airport, the airline said.
Its wings cut through the roofs and sent flames and clouds of smoke into the air as it crashed into a street and triggered a rescue operation that continued into the night.
Commercial flights in the country resumed just a few days before Eid al-Fitr's Muslim holiday after airplanes lay on the ground during a coronavirus pandemic lockout.
"After it hit and I regained consciousness, I saw fire everywhere and nobody was visible," said 24-year-old Mohammad Zubair from his hospital bed in a video clip that was broadcast on social media.
"There were screams from children, adults and the elderly. The screams were everywhere and everyone was trying to survive. I loosened my seat belt and I saw some light and tried to walk towards it. Then I jumped out."
Zubair had been burned but was in a stable condition, a health official said.
The airline appointed the other survivor President of the Bank of Punjab, Zafar Masud.
The Ministry of Health of the province of Sindh, in which the southern port city of Karachi is located, confirmed on Saturday that all 97 bodies recovered from the crash site were on the plane.
To date, at least 19 have been identified, while DNA testing has been performed at the University of Karachi to identify the rest of the victims.
A local hospital previously reported receiving the bodies of people killed on the ground.
The disaster comes as Pakistanis prepare to celebrate the end of Muslim fasting Ramadan and the beginning of oath. Many travel to their homes in towns and villages.
A PIA spokesman said air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft that flew from Lahore to Karachi shortly after 2:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. GMT).
The pilot made a desperate Mayday call after announcing "we lost engines" according to an audio recording confirmed by the airline.
PIA chief Arshad Mahmood Malik described the Airbus A320 as one of the safest aircraft.
"Everything was technically and operationally available," he said, promising an investigation.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said Captain Sajjad Gull had been described by the airline as a senior A320 pilot with extensive flight experience.
The aircraft was first put into service in 2004 and was taken over by PIA a decade later and had completed around 47,100 flight hours, Airbus said in a statement.
The residents were the first to search the charred and twisted debris scattered in search of survivors. Witnesses reported the screams of a man hanging on the plane's emergency exit door.
Sarfraz Ahmed, a firefighter at the crash site, told AFP that rescuers had pulled bodies out of the plane that were still strapped.
Local residents near the scene told how the walls of their homes shook before a big explosion broke out when the plane crashed into the neighborhood.
"I came out of the mosque when I saw the plane tip over on one side. It was so low that the walls of my house trembled," said 14-year-old Hassan.
Another resident, Mudassar Ali, said he "heard a big bang and woke up with people calling for the fire department."
An AFP reporter saw charred bodies loaded into ambulances.
"Shocked and sad"
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "shocked and sad" by the crash and tweeted that he was in contact with the manager of the state airline.
"Prayers and condolences go to families of the deceased," he wrote on Twitter.
The Pakistani military said security forces were deployed in the region and helicopters were used to investigate the damage.
Pakistan has an eventful military and civil aviation safety record with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.
In 2016, a PIA plane went up in flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the far north to Islamabad and more than 40 people were killed.
The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010 when an Airbus A321, operated by the private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi, crashed into the hills outside of Islamabad when landing and killed all 152 people on board.
In an official report, the accident was attributed to a confused captain and hostile cockpit atmosphere.
PIA, a leading airline until the 1970s, has a bad reputation due to frequent cancellations, delays and financial problems.
It has been the subject of numerous controversies over the years, including the detention of a drunk pilot in Britain in 2013.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)