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Like the earthquake: “Karachi residents remember a deadly plane crash


Karachi: Noman Shamsi was sitting in the living room after Friday prayers while his wife was cooking breakfast when a huge sound shook their house in the model of the colony of Karachi, their house filled with black smoke.

“It was the Day of Resurrection,” Shamsi told Arab News on Saturday, a day after a PIA plane sank in his neighborhood, killing 97 people on board. Two survivors were pulled alive from the rubble. “Our house shook (hard) for a moment, we thought it was a massive earthquake, but suddenly it was filled with black smoke and debris that flew in our way. Our gate was hit in a way we couldn’t open. There was flames, we couldn’t reach the roof. We were suffocating inside our house.” Finally, the family managed to escape.

There was unimaginable damage on the street – a wing of an airplane fell on the third floor of his neighbor’s house – but Shamsi said it could have been worse.

“Thanks to the pilot who kept the plane in the middle of the street. He saved many lives on the ground.”

No injuries were reported as the plane crashed into a crowded residential street and less than a dozen locals were injured – none of them were in critical condition.

He was a wise pilot. Al-Shamsi added, “God accepts his testimony.” “His decision at the right time saved lives.”

Syed Munzer Shah, a local, told Arab News that despite their escape from their lives, the street residents were shocked by Friday’s events. He said, especially the children, who would see the planes flying overhead on their way to and from the runways of Karachi Airport.

Abdel-Majid, the owner of another typical colony home, said that his children had moved to the homes of their relatives and did not want to return.

“The planes were routine for us … because the plane will fly close to our homes,” Majeed told Arab News. “But now, when we see a plane landing, we think it can land on us.”

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told a news conference in Karachi that high-rise buildings – a few floors high – are prohibited near airports and that at least 15 acres of land along the Karachi airport have been illegally taken away. The minister did not provide further details.

Majeed claimed that people built higher homes than what was permitted by law. Arab News has not been able to independently verify these allegations.

“They should either walk away from the runway or relocate this neighborhood,” Majeed said. “The accident which fortunately did not kill (the locals) still reminds us that this is a dangerous area for us to live in.”


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