At least 11 dead as cargo plane crashes in Karachi
Updated at: 1059 PST, Sunday, November 28, 2010
KARACHI: At least eleven people were killed when a Russian-made cargo plane crashed in a fireball seconds after taking off from Karachi on Sunday, Geo News reported Sunday.
The death toll was expected to rise, with an unknown number of labourers feared killed when the Ilyushin IL-76, bound for the Sudanese capital Khartoum, slammed into buildings in the city.
"All eight people on board have died, we fear that some labourers on the ground have also been killed," CAA spokesman said. "We do not know the exact number of those killed on ground," he added.
Bodies of three labourers working on the construction site have also been recovered from the debris taking the toll to eleven, rescue authorities said.
Authorities said they had brought the fire under control but rescue workers were still searching for bodies.
"Recovered bodies are badly mutilated and beyond recognition," he said.
The plane slammed into buildings under construction in the Dalmia neighbourhood.
"Rescue workers are still searching whether there are any other bodies or injured people in the debris," a police official said.
It was the third plane accident in four months in Pakistan, a country of 170 million people where inter-city travel is most efficient by air, and the second aircraft to crash after take off from Karachi in just four weeks.
The CAA spokesman said that the jet took off from Karachi at 1:45 am (20:45 GMT Saturday) and crashed just one and a half minutes later.
Witnesses spoke of their horror at seeing a fireball racing through the night sky.
"I saw a fireball plummeting to ground," a milk seller said. 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 crash sparked fires in four or five construction sites, but officials said the number of casualties would have been far higher if the plane had struck nearby residential buildings.
Residents in nearby buildings spent the night with relatives, he added.
The US-manufactured Beech 1900C aircraft operated by local company was carrying staff from an Italian oil company to an oil field in the southern province of Sindh.
On July 28, an Airbus 321 passenger jet operated by Airblue crashed into hills near Islamabad while coming in to land after a flight from Karachi, killing 152 people on board. http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-news/5709.htm