Pak air crash: Authorities to identify severely charred bodies through DNA testing

Fire brigade staff try to put out fire caused by plane crash in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, May 22, 2020. An aviation official says a passenger plane belonging to state-run Pakistan International Airlines carrying more than 100 passengers and crew has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi. There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

KARACHI, May 23: Pakistani authorities were conducting DNA tests to identify the severely charred bodies of the airplane that crashed into a residential area near the Jinnah International Aiport here, killing 97 people, media reports said on Saturday.
The Airbus A320 aircraft of the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines had 91 passengers and a crew of eight when it plunged into the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir on Friday, minutes before its landing in Karachi. Eleven people on the ground were injured.
“Only five persons, including a girl, have been identified so far,” a police official outside the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
He added that it was near-impossible for families to identify the deceased, due to the severe burns they had sustained.
A point of collection for the DNA tests has been set up at the Karachi University’s Forensic DNA Laboratory, the Geo News reported.
Family members of the passengers are requested to visit “for samples that would be required for cross match” when identifying the deceased. Contact numbers for information have also been shared, the report said.
Chaos prevailed and a thick black smoke billowed from the incident site as ambulances rushed in and people gathered to save the victims, leaving many in the residential area perplexed by the sudden crash.
A dazed young boy standing outside a morgue with his mother was hoping against hope to find his sister alive. For him, it could have been a reunion with her as she was travelling home for the first time after her marriage a few months back.
“I am looking for my sister,” he told The Express Tribune, the few words he could manage to speak trying to anticipate the worst that could be in store for him.
For Muhammad Bilal, a resident of Jinnah Garden, the incident has come as an utter shock as his brother-in-law was travelling in the plane that crashed near his house.
“My brother-in-law was on the flight, and unfortunately, the plane crashed near our house,” he said.
Narrating the incident, Bilal said he had been sleeping when the plane crashed around 50 metres away from his home near Bilal Mosque.
“When I reached the spot, there was complete chaos,” he said, adding that over half a dozen houses near his own residence were destroyed.
Two people miraculously survived the crash. One of them is President of the Bank of Punjab Zafar Masood, who called up his mother to inform her of his well-being.
Another survivor told Geo news that he is a mechanical engineer and after working on a project in Gujranwala, was on his way home for Eid.
His limbs sustained burn wounds from the crash.
Pakistan International Airlines Chief Executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik confirmed that the pilot, in his last words, had said that there was a technical fault with the aircraft.
“The pilot was told that both runways were ready for him to land. However, the pilot decided to do a go-around. Why did he do that, due to what technical reason, that we will find out,” he said was quoted as saying in the Geo News. (PTI)