KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered an inquiry into the crash of a small private aircraft in Karachi, in which 21 passengers and crew on board were killed on Friday morning.
A spokesman of CAA has said that the investigation team will be headed by Air Commodore Khawaja Abdul Majeed.
A small plane belonging to Jahangir Siddiqui (JS) Air took off from Jinnah International Airport and crashed near Pehelwan Goth shortly after take-off, near a residential and military area in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar suburb in Karachi.
Express 24/7 correspondent Shehryar Mirza reported two pilots were among the dead. CAA stated that 21 people were on board the plane when it crashed, and that one security guard and one technician are among the dead.
Mirza said all 21 bodies have been pulled out of the aircraft and that rescue teams have been dispatched to the site of the crash. The bodies are charred beyond recognition, and 17 bodies have been shifted to the Aga Khan University Hospital, while the rest have been shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and Liaquat National Hospital.
“The plane has been totally gutted and there are no survivors,” Lieutenant Colonel Noor Alam told reporters. The plane was believed to be carrying about 20 people, mostly Pakistanis, he said, adding that bodies have not yet been identified.
Talking to Express 24/7, CAA spokesperson Pervaiz George confirmed that the plane is a JS Air aircraft, which took off from Jinnah International Airport, Karachi at 7:13 am for Bhitshah.
Technical failure may be reason behind crash
George said the plane crashed due to possible engine failure, as the control tower received reports from the pilot that there was a problem after take-off, after which the pilot was told to land back at the airport. He said that the plane had been cleared for take off prior to the crash.
Sources say the aircraft had not been cleared for take-off two days prior to the crash as it had technical problems and needed repairs, but took off despite the warning. A JS Air spokesperson confirmed that the black box of the aircraft has been recovered.
An eyewitness said the plane turned back towards the airport shortly after take-off, after which it fell to the ground and burst into flames.
JS spokesperson Nadeem Hanif told Express 24/7 that the American aircraft was a reliable one, saying it was “airworthy and fit to take this flight”.
“The technical team will investigate the fault,” he said, adding that heirs of the crash victims have been notified of the tragedy.
A company official in Karachi told AFP the plane was chartered by ENI, an Italian multinational oil company, and was carrying its employees. Mirza told Express 24/7 that one of the passengers was a foreign national.
JS Air plane details
The aircraft’s make is Beech 1900-C and was manufactured in 1990 and 1991. The aircrafts are being acquired from Raytheon of United States, who is also the manufacturers of Beechcraft.
It has standard accommodation of flight crew of two plus standard passenger accommodation for 19.
The passenger list given to Mirza by CAA is as follows:
With additional input from AFP