Turbulence, warnings before Pakistan plane crash killed 97

AP — When the plane jolted violently, Mohammad Zubair thought it was turbulence. Then the pilot came on the intercom to warn that the landing could be "troublesome."

Moments later, the Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed into a crowded neighborhood near Karachi's international airport, killing 97 people, all of whom are believed to be passengers and crew members. Zubair was one of just two surviving passengers.

Meeran Yousaf, the provincial Health Department spokeswoman, said only 19 of the bodies from Friday's crash have been identified and that most of the bodies were badly burned. Eight people on the ground were injured, including four who are still hospitalized, and all residents are accounted for, she said.

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Rescue workers search for victims at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: A weeping Pakistani man is being comfort at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A firefighter sprays water on the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed in a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, killing several people on the ground. (Photo by Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP) (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP via Getty Images)
A man checks a part of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed in a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, killing several people on the ground. (Photo by Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP) (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Rescue workers search for victims at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 22: Wreckage of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. At least eight people were killed as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with 107 passengers onboard crashed in southern port city of Karachi on Friday, officials and local media reported. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Rescue workers search for victims at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rescue workers arrive at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rescue workers search for victims at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistani passenger plane with nearly 100 people on board crashed into a residential area of the southern city of Karachi on May 22. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: Pakistani security and rescue personnel are seen at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: Ambulances are 11 - seen at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: Pakistani security and rescue personnel are seen at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: Pakistani people arrive at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 22: Pakistani security officials are seen at the site of a passenger plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, May 22, 2020. A Pakistani passenger plane with at least 100 people on board crashed in a residential area in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, the country's civil aviation agency said. (Photo by H.KHAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Rescue workers evacuate an injured victim from the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistan passenger plane with more than 100 people believed to be on board crashed in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, the country's aviation authority said. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Rescue workers cover the body of a victim they recovered from the rubbles after a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistan passenger plane with more than 100 people believed to be on board crashed in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, the country's aviation authority said. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rescue workers move a body from the site after a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistan passenger plane with more than 100 people believed to be on board crashed in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, the country's aviation authority said. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rescue workers gather at the site after a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Karachi on May 22, 2020. - A Pakistan passenger plane with more than 100 people believed to be on board crashed in the southern city of Karachi on May 22, the country's aviation authority said. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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The plane crashed near Jinnah International Airport, in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony. PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafiz Khan said the aircraft destroyed or heavily damaged 18 homes.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Abdul Sattar Kokhar said the Airbus A230 was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members. The only other survivor of the crash was Zafar Masood, a bank executive.

In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Zubair, a mechanical engineer, said flight PK8308 had taken off on time from the eastern city of Lahore at 1 p.m. It was a smooth, uneventful flight until the aircraft began its descent near Karachi shortly before 3 p.m.

"Suddenly the plane jerked violently, once and then again," said Zubair. The aircraft turned and the pilot's voice came over the intercom. They were experiencing engine trouble and the landing could be "troublesome," the pilot said. That was the last thing Zubair remembered until he woke up in a scene of chaos.

"I saw so much smoke and fire. I heard people crying, children crying."

He crawled his way out of the smoke and rubble, and was eventually pulled from the ground and rushed into an ambulance.

Pakistan had only earlier this week resumed domestic flights ahead of Eid-al Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Many of the passengers aboard the flight were families returning home for the holiday, said Science Minister Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry.

Between the coronavirus pandemic and the plane crash, this year has been a "catastrophe," he said.

"What is most unfortunate and sad is whole families have died, whole families who were travelling together for the Eid holiday," he told The Associated Press.

Social media and local news reports said Zara Abid, an actor and an award-winning model, was among those killed. A senior banker, his wife and three young children were also reportedly killed. Shabaz Hussein, whose mother died in the crash, told The Associated Press he identified her body at a local hospital and was waiting to take it away for burial.

Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus, and the when flights resumed every other seat was left vacant to promote social distancing.

Southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, is the epicenter of Pakistan's outbreak, with nearly 20,000 of the country's more than 50,000 cases. Pakistan has reported 1,101 deaths from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

A transmission of the pilot's final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, indicated he had failed to land and was circling to make another attempt.

"We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine," the pilot said.

"Confirm your attempt on belly," the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.

"Sir, mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303," the pilot said before the transmission ended.

PIA Chairman Arshad Malik told reporters Friday in Karachi that an independent inquiry would be held but said the aircraft was in good working order.

Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on Nov. 1, 2019. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said "the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety" standards.

Ownership records for the Airbus A320 showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from 2004 until 2014. The plane then entered PIA's fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services.

Airbus said the plane had logged 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flights as of Friday. The plane had two CFM56-5B4 engines.

Airbus said it would provide technical assistance to investigators in France and Pakistan, as well as the airline and engine manufacturers.

"We at Airbus are deeply saddened by the tragic news of flight #PK8303," tweeted Executive Director Guillaume Faury. "In aviation, we all work hard to prevent this. Airbus will provide full assistance to the investigating authorities."

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