PAF plane crashes at bus terminal; 4 dead

KARACHI - Two pilots among four people were killed on Tuesday when a fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) crashed at an intercity bus terminal situated in Baldia Town.
The PAF’s plane crushed at 12:15pm near the bus terminal situated in Yousuf Goth area of Baldia Town. Following the incident, law-enforcement agencies, including police and rangers as well as the officials and personnel of PAF reached and cordoned off the site.
According to spokesperson for Pakistan Air Force, a fighter aircraft, while on a routine operational training mission, crashed due to some technical fault. He added that both the pilots, Wing Commander Khurram Samad and Squadron Leader Umair Elahi, embraced martyrdom in the aircraft crash. The spokesperson said that PAF immediately despatched fire tenders and ambulances for rescue and relief operations to the site of the crash.
Four PAF helicopters also took part in the rescue operation, said the spokesperson. He said the PAF would compensate the people who lost their relatives, got injured or faced any financial loss in the accident.
A board of inquiry has been ordered by the Air Headquarters to determine the cause of the accident, the spokesperson added.
Police said two civilians, including a bus driver, Ali Akbar, and a painter, Sajid Riyasat, also died due to the aircraft crash while three other civilians sustained minor injuries. The bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital, Karachi, for autopsy. Windowpanes of several nearby houses were also shuttered when the PAF plane came crashing down to the empty ground near a bus terminal. The crash site was emitting thick smoke and a large number of people gathered there which also created difficulty in the rescue operation.
The terminal also caught fire, but it was controlled by fire fighters. The crash created a large fire. “It was too hard to bring the fire quickly under control, so it took time,” said a fire fighter. Electricity supply in the area was shut down as the plane crashed through electricity poles.
Police and PAF officials collected evidence from the site. The engineers of the PAF also reached the site to ascertain the actual cause of the crash.
Quoting the local police, AFP said two people on the ground were also killed and nine injured. Sajid Sadozai, a senior police official, said two buses parked at the terminal were destroyed while another was damaged.
Another security official said the crashed plane was a Mirage fighter jet. Pakistan has a large fleet of refurbished Mirages.
Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying that four buses caught fire when the plane’s wreckage fell on them. The hospital sources were quoted as saying that at least two among the injured were in critical condition.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah expressed sorrow over the incident and sought report from the police chief.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt