PESHAWAR: A female passenger was killed and two crew members were injured when a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) airplane came under fire near the Bacha Khan International Airport (BKIA) in Peshawar late on Tuesday evening, Express News reported.
PIA flight PK-756, travelling from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, was about to land at the Peshawar airport when it was struck by ten bullets. The plane was carrying 178 passengers.
The airline’s managing director Junaid Yunus said that the plane was 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) away from the runway when it was hit.
“I must tell everyone that our pilot, Captain Tariq Chaudhry, utilised all his years of experience and did not lose his nerve. Unfortunately, one woman passenger, who was sitting on seat 59-J, lost her life.”
Yunus added that all passengers and flight crew were in their seats at the time of the attack as the plane was minutes away from landing.
The bullets also hit two PIA cabin crew members. One of them, Ijaz Afridi, received three bullets and was shifted to the hospital in critical condition.
The PIA management refused to talk further about the incident or speculate where the bullets were fired from.
Wajid Khan, the other crew member who had received one bullet in his leg, told a private TV channel that this particular area, the residential colony adjacent to the airport, is notorious and the pilots have previously complained of aerial firing in the area.
Talking to The Express Tribune, SP Cantt Faisal Kamran said that unknown people opened fire on the airliner in which a woman was killed and two people were injured during its landing.
“The firing took place outside the vicinity of the airport and we have launched a search operation in the area but it is not an attack on the airport. They targeted the flight coming from abroad during its landing,” he explained.
“There were three injured in which one woman succumbed to her injuries at the hospital” he added.
At the time of incident, the plane was flying low over Landi Akhum Ahmad area as it lined up its approached for landing.
Soon after the incident, all flights from the airport were suspended as a precautionary measure and Pakistan Army units cordoned off the entire airport to ward off any untoward incident.
A search operation has been launched by the Airport Security Force (ASF) and local police.
This is the third such incident at the Bacha khan airport.
On April 29, rockets were fired on BKIA that hit an army barrack on Khyber Road.
On February 26, two rockets landed inside Peshawar airport however no damage was reported.