Plane crashes in Pakistan with around 100 on board

Smoke billowing from the site where a PIA aircraft crashed in Karachi, Pakistan today.

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KARACHI (May 22): A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with around 100 passengers and crew crashed today in a residential area of the southern city of Karachi, with many feared dead, officials said.

The state carrier said flight PK 8303 had crashed with 99 passengers and eight crew members on board, though civil aviation officials said the total for both might be 99.

"The last we heard from the pilot was that he had some technical problem," PIA spokesman Abdullah H Khan said in a video statement. "It is a very tragic incident."

A senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane was unable to open its wheels due to a technical fault prior to landing, but it was too early to determine the cause.

Geo TV broadcaster showed crowds near the scene, which appeared to be a densely populated area, and ambulances trying to make their way through.

Black smoke billowed and several cars were on fire.

The Pakistani army said its quick reaction force and paramilitary troops had reached the site for relief and rescue efforts alongside civil administration bodies.