The last moments of the conversation between one of the pilots on the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane, which crashed during a landing attempt in Karachi, and the air traffic controller were recorded on a flight tracking website.
In the audio clip posted by liveatc.net – a well-known website that is used by aviation observers worldwide – one hears the pilot of flight PK 8303 saying that he lost both engines and then "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday", the international emergency message.
The air traffic controller attempted to take the 99 passenger and crew member down to land after landing an earlier attempt to land.
The conversation proceeds as follows:
Pilot: PK 8303 (to) approach
ATC: Ji Sir
Pilot: Should we turn left?
Pilot: We're going straight on, we've lost both engines.
ATC: Do you confirm that you are making a belly landing?
ATC: Runway available to land on 2 5
Pilot: Sir, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Pakistan 8303
ATC: Pakistan 8303, Roger Sir. Both runways are available for landing.
There the sound is interrupted.
Moments later, the PIA plane crashed into a residential area of Karachi on Friday, and many feared death.
At the point where flight PK 8303 crashed, smoke rose, some roofs were broken in, and debris was scattered across the streets as ambulances stormed through chaotic crowds.
"The areoplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses," witness Shakeel Ahmed told Reuters near the site, just a few miles from the airport.
The jet, whose website FlightRadar24.com was identified as a 15-year-old Airbus A320, flew from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi in the south when Pakistan resumed domestic flights after the coronavirus pandemic.
"The last thing we heard from the pilot was that he had a technical problem," said state carrier spokesman Abdullah H. Khan in a video statement.
"From the last approach he was told that both runways were ready to land, but the pilot decided that he (a) wanted to do a lap … It's a very tragic incident," he said.
(With contributions from agencies)