Eleven Killed in Russian Cargo Plane Crash in Karachi

Karachi, Nov 28 (IANS): At least 11 people, including eight crew members and three labourers, were killed when a Khartoum-bound Russian cargo plane crashed near the Dalmiya road in Karachi minutes after taking-off Sunday.

"The plane took-off from Karachi terminal around 1.45 a.m. and crashed at an under-construction site of a naval complex in Gulistan-i-Jamal, just after two-three minutes," Samaa TV reported.

"The pilot had given last message to control tower that he was shifting navigation control to the radar," it added.

Quoting civil aviation sources, the channel said that "the pilot had also complained of a fault in the engine before the communication broke down".

Eyewitnesses in Karachi said that "the left engine of the aircraft had caught fire before it came crashing down amidst a fireball".

The spokesman of the civil aviation authority, Pervez George, however, denied that any complaint had been received from the pilot before the crash.

"The IL-76 aircraft had taken-off smoothly," he said, adding that "any assumptions before finding the back-box would be premature".

The rescue workers of the Pakistan Navy are collecting the parts of the aircraft and removing the rubble of about seven under-construction buildings that were damaged in the crash.

"The loss of life could have been much higher if these buildings were populated," eyewitnesses said.

"Three labourers working at these construction sites were sleeping in the building when death trapped them," Samaa TV said, adding that "two of them had joined work just a day ago after arriving from Multan". "The third labourer, killed in the attack, was their relative".

The bodies of the labourers had been sent to their native town Multan in south Punjab, about 800 km from Karachi.

"All crew members, including the pilot and the co-pilot, were of Russian origin, whose bodies would be handed over to the Russian embassy," the channel said.

The black box of the aircraft is yet to be found. The plane was carrying 32 tonnes of cargo.

The director general of Civil Aviation has ordered and inquiry into the accident. He visited the crash site Sunday afternoon and inspected the rescue efforts.

On Nov 5, a small Cessna aircraft crashed near Karachi, minutes after taking-off, and 12 people, including the crew and workers of an Italian oil company, had been killed.

In July, 152 people onboard a PIA flight were killed when it crashed in the Margalla hills near Islamabad just before landing.


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Title: Eleven Killed in Russian Cargo Plane Crash in Karachi

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