8 dead, 7 injured in cargo plane crash in Karachi residential area

Karachi, Nov 28 (ANI): A Russian-made cargo plane crashed near residential apartments in Karachi, seconds after taking off from the city's airport today, killing all eight people on board and injuring seven others.

"It was an IL-76 cargo plane. It was going to Khartoum. It had eight people on board," Geo TV quoted Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George, as saying.

"It took off from Karachi at 1:45 am (20:45 GMT Saturday) and after one and a half minutes it crashed," he added.

According to witnesses, the plane slammed into the buildings under construction in the sensitive Dalmai neighbourhood, where the Pakistan Air Force and Navy have residential apartments and offices.

Hospital doctors said that around seven people on the ground were injured, and a reporter saw pieces of flesh being recovered from the debris by medics.

But neither police nor hospitals had any immediate confirmation of any deaths or the fate of the eight crewmembers on board.

The explosion caused by the crash was so powerful that local residents thought it was triggered by a bomb, said Karachi police chief Fayyas Leghari.

Flames raged in four to five construction sites, but officials said that the number of casualties could have been far higher if the plane had struck nearby residential buildings.

"The crash has created a large fire. The fire brigade is on site and trying to extinguish the flames, but the fire is too large to bring under control quickly, so it will take time," he said.

Witnesses spoke of their horror at seeing a fireball racing through the night sky.

"I saw a fireball plummeting to ground," said milk seller Mohammad Raees, who had been going home on his motorbike after closing his shop.

It was the third plane accident within four months in Pakistan, and the second aircraft to crash after take off from Karachi in just four weeks. (ANI)

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