KARACHI: The joyous occasion of Eidul Fitr on Sunday (today) will not be the same for the residents of Karachi as they are still in shock and reeling from the terrifying plane crash in the densely populated neighbourhood of Model Colony near the city’s airport on Friday.
The plane, an Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan International Airlines, crashed Friday afternoon while making an attempt at landing after losing power, killing 97 people on board. Two passengers miraculously survived the deadly crash.
It was a day of mourning for the metropolis on Saturday as several victims of the crash were laid to rest and the families of those who are yet to be identified visited a DNA sample collection point set up at the University of Karachi so that their loved ones could be recognised.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said rescue workers had recovered 97 bodies from the rubble, all of which were likely those of passengers onboard the aircraft.
She added that the deceased included 68 males, 26 females and three children. Samples from the unidentifiable bodies, which have been burned beyond recognition, were sent for testing while 47 samples have been collected from the bereaved family members at the varsity.
According to Sindh Health Department, a total of 34 bodies have been identified and handed over to the families so far.
The wreckage of the ill-fated aircraft was cleared from the site for a forensic analysis by the team probing into the tragedy.
Pakistan Army, Rangers and Special Security Unit personnel remained deployed in the area all day long, not allowing any irrelevant persons, including media representatives, to enter the neighbourhood. Even the residents of the affected streets were allowed to enter after satisfying the security personnel that they lived there.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan said in a statement that the plane’s black box was found on Friday and it was being handed over to the inquiry board. He added that both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered,
On Friday, the government had notified a team headed by Air Commodore Muhammad Usman Ghani, the president of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board, to investigate into the deadly crash.
The neighbourhood was cordoned off early in the morning and officials from utility companies including the K-Electric (KE) and the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) too had to seek permission before entering the neighbourhood.
However, KE, SSGC, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Civil Aviation Authority and PIA officials, as well as members of welfare organisations, were later allowed to visit the locality. A police picket has also been set up at one end of the street.