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May 24, 2020

PIA plane crash: 97 bodies recovered

Top Story

May 24, 2020

KARACHI: A day after the domestic state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A320 jet with 91 passengers and a crew of eight flying from the airport in the northeastern city of Lahore crashed in the densely populated Model Colony residential area near the southern port city of Karachi, the authorities on Sunday ended a search and rescue operation as what the authorities believed that they have recovered all the bodies of the passengers and crew members of the plane from the plane crash site.

Earlier, the Inter Services Public Relations, in a statement, said that Army Search & Rescue Team, Army troops, Rangers & social welfare organisations have recovered 97 bodies. It said that two passengers survived. Twenty-five affected houses were cleared, and their residents accommodated at various places with the assistance of civil administration.

The passengers’ death toll from the PIA flight PK-8303, which crashed on Friday afternoon at around 2:25pm after sending a distress call, is the third most catastrophic aviation disaster in Pakistan's history.

Only two survived the crash — the chief executive of the Bank of Punjab, namely Zafar Masud and a young engineer named Muhammad Zubair. The Karachi-bound flight from Lahore had been seconds away from landing at the Karachi airport when it crashed in the residential Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, right outside the airport's boundary wall.

“We have 97 bodies including 68 male, 26 female and three children,” says police surgeon Dr Qarar Abbasi while talking to The News. “20 bodies at the JPMC and four at the CHK have been identified of which, 20 have been handed over to their families while the rest of four were being handed over to their families.”

Police surgeon said that 66 bodies were brought to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center PMC while 31 to Civil Hospital, Karachi. “The medico-legal officers at both hospitals have collected the samples from the bodies and sent them to the forensic lab of the University of Karachi to match them from their families for the DNA purpose,” police surgeon explained.

The families of the deceased passengers and crew members have also been asked to approach the forensic laboratory at the KU to give their samples to the DNA purpose, which will take around three weeks. “So far 54 families have been approached the forensic laboratory at the University of Karachi to give their samples for the DNA purpose,” says police surgeon. “Majority of the bodies were charred. Therefore, it is very difficult to identify them. We have only an option to identify them with the help of the DNA testing.”

The Nadra officials are also helping the families and authorities to identify the victims with the help while obtaining the finger prints of the victims.

Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon has appointed central focal persons for DNA collection and matching and appointed three police officials including Investigations Korangi SSP Junaid Ahmed Shaikh, DSP Rustam Nawaz and DSP Aftab Alam for that purpose.

“Some of the samples collected from the hospitals were not correct and being revised,” DSP Aftab Alam told The News. “The families who have identified their loved ones are with the help of their wallets, rings, watches, clothes, shoes and others as the bodies were in bad conditions.”

The unfortunate victims/families of plane crash:

There was an unfortunate family also among the victims who were travelling to Karachi from Lahore. All the five members of the family lost their lives in the tragedy. The head of the family Zain Polani along with his wife, Sara and three kids, also passed away in the plane crash. Zain Polani was the head of the Credit Card and Personal Loans at Standard Chartered Pakistan SCB. He had moved his family to UK for his wife to complete her PHD almost a year ago. And after Corona was worried that London quarantine was affecting his kids, and was trying to get them back to Pakistan. Managed to get them on a flight from London to Lahore and went last Wednesday to pick them from Lahore. Their tests came negative during quarantine, so he was bringing them back home before Eid on today's flight. “Though it is confirmed that Zain Polani and his family members have lost their lives in the tragic plane crash but they are yet to be identified and DNA samples have been collected for their identification purpose,” says the police. Governor Sindh Imran Ismail also visited the prominent businessman Yahya Polani and offered his condolences for the death of Yahya’s nephew Zain Polani and Zain’s wife and three children.

Similarly, Nida Waqas and family was also among them who died in the tragic plane crash. She was HR manager at Atlas Honda and had done her studies from IBA. She was the first position holder in that DBA batch. Dr. Yasmeen Akbani a Senior Paediatrician & HOD Peads Department, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (KMC) Since 1986, lost her life in Friday’s plane Crash. Five military officers, a model Zara Abid and senior journalist Ansar Naqvi were also among the unfortunate passengers of the plane which crashed on Friday.

One of the family who lived in Karachi’s Gulbahar area was also among the deadly plane crash victims. Though Waqas and his wife Nida have so far been identified but their two children are yet to be identified and DNA samples have been taken to identify the kids. “The samples for the DNA matching for Waqas’ kids, namely Aliyan and Aima have been taken for the identification purpose,” says the family members. “The couple was in Lahore from the last one year for the employment purpose.”

The ill-fated father and a son were also among the victims. Saleem Qadri who was a businessman and his son, namely Osama Qadri also lost their lives in the tragic incident but their bodies are yet to be identified.

Hamza Yousuf who was coming to Karachi after passing out parade and second lieutenant course was also among them. Though he belonged to the Mansehra, was coming to Karachi to spend Eid days with his family in Karachi’s Orangi Town.

Funeral prayers:

The funeral prayers of the military officer Major Sheheryar, his wife, Maham, and two children were offered at Masjid Ali located at Bahadurabad after Zuhr prayers which was attended by large number of senior officers from the military, police, Rangers and family members and relatives. Corps Commander Karachi also attended the funeral prayers.

The funeral prayers of another victim of the plane crash, namely Engineer Farhan Qadir also offered at his hometown, Ghotki and later he was laid to rest amid tears and sobs.