Cargo plane crashes in Karachi

Published: November 28, 2010
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The crashed plane’s debris in the foreground as fire from burning jet fuel engulfs the area. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD ADEEL/EXPRESS

The crashed plane’s debris in the foreground as fire from burning jet fuel engulfs the area. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD ADEEL/EXPRESS

KARACHI: A cargo plane crashed in a Naval housing colony near Karachi’s Dalmia area early Sunday morning.

Speaking to the media, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Pervais George said the plane was a Russian-made cargo plane which was heading to Sudan when it came down two minutes after take off.

The plane was an Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft bound for the Sudanese capital Khartoum. “It took off from Karachi at 1:45 am (20:45 GMT Saturday) and after one and a half minutes it crashed,” George added.

Rescue officials have so far confirmed that 11 people have died in the crash.

Express 24/7 correspondent Ahmed Jung reports that the plane crashed in the Naval Housing Scheme and 12 houses have been destroyed as a result of the crash. Residents of nearby areas felt the impact of the crash and fire and smoke can be witnessed emanating from the area.

According to Jung,there were eight people on board, all of them were Russians. Gaslines in the area have exploded and officials are trying to shut down the gas supply. Electricity supply in the area has also been shut down as the plane crashed through electricity poles, reports Jung.

Express 24/7 reported that eyewitnesses say the engine of the plane was seen on fire before the crash. Speaking to the media, the CAA spokesperson George, however, said the plane caught fire a minute after take off and that the pilot did not contact the authorities.

According to Express News correspondent Wasiq Muhammad, the fire had spread to the occupied residencies in the area.

Police and ambulances have reached the area and rescue operations are underway. The injured are being shifted to the civil hospital.

Rescue workers faced a lot of difficulty due to the scores of people that had gathered around the crash site. The Sindh governor also appealed to the people to move away from the site so rescue operations could be carried out properly.

Efforts were being made to extinguish the fire at the site and much of it was brought under control. Generators were used to light up the area in the absence of electricity supply.

Witnesses spoke of their horror at seeing a fireball racing through the night sky.

“I saw a fireball plummeting to ground,” milk seller Mohammad Raees told AFP. He had been going home on his motorbike after closing his shop.

“It was so huge and quick. I was terrified.

“I couldn’t see what it was. I sped up to save my life and after a few seconds I heard a deafening explosion, but thanks to Allah my life was saved and I was not injured.”

The explosion caused by the crash was so powerful that local residents thought it was triggered by a bomb, said Karachi police chief Fayyas Leghari.

Flames raged in four to five construction sites, but officials said the number of casualties could have been far higher if the plane had struck nearby residential buildings.

“The crash has created a large fire. The fire brigade is on site and trying to extinguish the flames, but the fire is too large to bring under control quickly, so it will take time,” he said.

“It was a huge blast. People thought it was a bomb blast. Police are trying to assess the number of casualties.”

Residents in nearby buildings left to spend the night with relatives and police were evacuating others, Leghari said.

The site was near to the military-controlled area where a Pakistani twin-engine turboprop crashed after take off from Karachi on November 5, killing all 21 people on board.

Twitter feed

@DrAwab RT @manipro yes iwas at stadium having tea with friends#karachi & saw the plane it was on fire & i have never seen such big fire in my life

@rai_azlan i hope this fire brigade operation be completed ASAP so that the loss can be controlled #pakistan #PlaneCrash #Karachi

@zeeshan_ahmed RT @BeingSamee: Electricty cut in #Askari4#Karachi …possibly due to #Russian plane crash at Dalmia!#Pakistan

@babushka99: Aircraft was refueled at Karachi for flight duration of 7 hours and 40 minutes. #Karachi

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Adeel Saya
    Nov 28, 2010 - 2:41AM

    dude its early sunday morning. wat a screwed up paper you guys are runningRecommend

  • Omar
    Nov 28, 2010 - 2:55AM

    Could our maintenance and final check up routine be more negligent and incomplete??Recommend

  • asmer beg
    Nov 28, 2010 - 3:22AM

    I live in same Navy Housing and just saw the crash scene. Luckily plane crashed on under construction houses, so no casualty on ground is feared. Several ambulance services including Naval, Chippa, Edhi, reached the scene within 5 mins of crash but fire brigade took atleast 20 mins to reach. With the fire intensity and delay in fire fighting operation, there seem no chance of onboard crew survival. Recommend

  • Taimur
    Nov 28, 2010 - 3:26AM

    Pakistan should revamp its aviation safety laws. Proper maintainance and checks are a must for all planes carrying cargo and passengers. This is the 3rd such incident in 4 months. The country is already in chaos and such incidents further exacerbate the process.Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 4:33AM

    An eyewitness on the BBC is suggesting that the pilot may have deliberately aimed for the area under construction, rather than the populated area..any more word on that?Recommend

  • Mutali Khan Kalasara
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:10AM

    Janab

    Kalasarsar Saab Its request pledge your ONE kanal plot of IslamAbad to the BANK and arrange some money for ROBINA as you have mentioned in your URDU Column please.
    As you are Heart favorite now for the some important & power full people So you will be compensated Please ,thanks . You can donate the money & royalty from the Hot selling Book of yous as well please .
    Regards

    MkkRecommend

  • Pakistan One
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:57AM

    Fre from the sky Fire from the ground where is this leading us to? Fire of Hell!!!! No Doubt about it.Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 10:08AM

    And they’ve got a housing complex right alongside the runway of the Lahore airport. In fact, they share the same boundary wall. You can well imagine what would happen if God forbid a plane catches fires and comes hurtling down there. Such is the ingenuity of the people in charge of such affairs that they’ve quite forgotten the value of human life and what it means to put it into risk. Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 10:09AM

    So Sad…Recommend

  • Sohail hasaN
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:34AM

    Civil av auth should be bound to pay the ground damages for allowing faulty air craft to fly. . poor people on the ground!Recommend

  • Shah
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:10AM

    “The site was near to the military-controlled area where a Pakistani twin-engine turboprop crashed after take off from Karachi on November 5, killing all 21 people on board.”

    Could this be the Bermuda Triangle of Karachi?Recommend

  • Mary Crocker
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:16AM

    I feel the Pakistan authorities should seriously investigate the air crash. Independent investigation by third party could be an option worth considering
    If I re-call there was another one about a month back in which 21 persons died.
    This frequency of air crashes of aircraft flying from same airport needs to be properly investigated and remedial steps where ever needed be taken.

    I my opinion Karachi airport is a modern and very well managed airport from security point of view with multiple security screenings..

    Feel sorry for the families of those who perished in air crash.Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:34AM

    It is dangerous to live in a residential area which is close Jinnah Terminal.

    One never knows when would a plane fall on the roof of a house after take off or while landing at Jinnah Terminal, Karachi.

    The incidents of free fall of aircrafts are increasing in Pakistan which is quite alarming, although aircrafts crash have nothing to do with the ongoing terrorism and law and order situation.

    Who gave permission to the Russian Aircraft to take off when it was not properly checked that it is technically fit to fly and would not malfunction in the airspace after take off.

    The quarters concerned should investigate the matters of small aircrafts falling on the grounds in the nearby vicinity of Karachi Airport just after minutes of take off.Recommend

  • Bilal Jahangir
    Nov 28, 2010 - 3:09PM

    It was a Russian Aircraft that just stopped in Karachi to refuel on its way to Khartoum! People need to stop blaming the CAA for negligence! First of all it was not CAA’s responsibility to check the plane for malfunctions! It was just a plane that stopped for refueling!
    The Russian authorities are the ones responsible for doing that! And if a plane successfully flew from Russia to Karachi there was absolutely no reason to suspect that it was unsafe! Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 28, 2010 - 4:16PM

    that plane belonged to georgian company @[email protected], crew members were ukrainians and one russian cityzenRecommend

  • That plane belonged to georgian company @[email protected], crew members were ukrainians and only one russian cityzen!Recommend

  • Waqar
    Nov 28, 2010 - 6:23PM

    @Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    An eyewitness on the BBC is suggesting that the pilot may have deliberately aimed for the area under construction, rather than the populated area..any more word on that?

    Interesting testimony from an eyewitness, that’s what I read too. Eyewitnesses have also stated that the explosion was so powerful that they assumed it was a bomb that went off. Whilst not jumping to conclusions, it would be interesting to know what the cargo plane was carrying?

    Three airline crashes within the space of 4 months – yes, it could be the Bermuda Triangle of Karachi.Recommend

  • Ahmed Khan
    Nov 28, 2010 - 7:34PM

    Condolences to the Russians…Agree with Bilal Jahangir!Recommend

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