Compounding the despair, five or six houses were also destroyed in the crash of the domestic flight operated by Pakistan International Airlines, after what appeared to be an engine failure during landing.
The crash site was so congested that the rescue workers had to break portion of a wall to reach the crashed plane. Authorities suspended power as overhead electricity wires and a power grid were creating hurdles in the movement of rescue cranes.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane came down among houses on Friday afternoon after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport, the airline said.
After the aircraft reportedly called off an earlier attempt to land and went around for a second attempt, a controller radioed the pilot of flight 8303 that he appeared to be turning left, suggesting he was off-course.
The news has led to an outpouring of grief: the tragedy of the incident compounded by the fact that the festival of Eid was just around the corner, and many of the victims were likely returning to their families to celebrate.
Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash of the domestic flight operated by PIA. He said all those on board died, but two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived the crash.
PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said "the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety” standards.
Passenger Zafar Iqbal told The Associated Press that the flight crew consoled passengers when the plane made unusual noises and "when the plane landed at the Karachi airport, then the crew shared only this information that there was a fault in a part of the plane but we safely landed.”
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said that two special flights, one PK-789 with 264 passengers on board has departed for Toronto from Lahore, while another flight PK-781 carrying 242 passengers has flown from Karachi to Toronto.
"Considering the problems of overseas Pakistanis it has been decided that the first flight would land at Islamabad International Airport on April 4. All passengers will be sent in quarantine and tested for COVID-19. Those tested negative will be sent home through special arrangement of transport," Asad Umar said.