‘Mayday, Mayday’: Pilot’s last words before PIA flight crash in Karachi

“Mayday, Mayday!”- These were the last words of the pilot of the ill-fated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane that crashed into a residential area near Karachi airport with 98 people on board.

Before crashing into the residential area, the pilot—identified as Sajjad Gul—told air traffic controllers that he had lost an engine.

“We have lost an engine…. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,” the pilot told the ATC which was trying to guide him to land on any of the two runways that had been kept open for this flight. Liveatc.net, a well-known website that posts live air traffic audios, posted the audio of this last communication between PK 8303’s pilot and the ATC. Mayday is an international radio distress signal used by ships and aircraft.

Several social media accounts, too, posted the purported audio clip.

There was no confirmation on casualties or survivors till the time of filing this report. Social media was abuzz with all kinds of claims and counter-claims.

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Pakistani news channels beamed live images from the crash site where a massive ball of smoke could be seen billowing out from the crash site. It was reported that the plane crash landed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said there were 98 people on board—91 passengers and seven crew members. Flight PK 8303 had taken off from Lahore at around 1 pm lost contact with ATC around 2.30 pm.

At the crash site, several roofs caved in and streets were full of debris. Ambulances and rescue workers had a difficult time reaching the crash site. The ill-fated plane was an Airbus A320 and was flying from Lahore to Karachi just as Pakistan began resuming domestic flights that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been reported that the pilot attempted an abortive landing in one of the runways before turning around. The flight crashed shortly after that. 25 residents of the area are reported to have been injured in the crash and are being taken to the hospitals. A state of emergency has been declared in all major hospitals in the city.

The Pakistan Army and the Rangers are in the spot assisting the authorities in carrying out relief operations.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry into the incident.


Danyal Gilani, a Civil Servant from Pakistan tweeted a video from the crash site.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences to all victims and those who have been affected by this crash.

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