KARACHI, Pakistan — A cargo plane crashed in flames into a residential area in Pakistan’s largest city soon after takeoff yesterday, killing all eight crew members and at least three people on the ground, officials said.
The crash was the second this month in Karachi, the main port city in the south, and the third in Pakistan in less than five months.
The Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 slammed into a housing complex under construction in Karachi, sending fire and smoke into the sky and damaging about 20 buildings. The aircraft narrowly missed hitting several large occupied apartment buildings.
Authorities recovered three bodies from the rubble by yesterday afternoon, and one laborer was still missing, said navy Commodore Mohammad Musra. Another person was hospitalized with severe burns, said Abdul Razak, a doctor.
The Sudan-bound plane crashed around 1:50 a.m., when many people in the upscale neighborhood were asleep. One of the plane’s engines was on fire as it flew overhead, several witnesses said.
Residents said most of the houses destroyed were under construction and believed to be unoccupied except for a few of the laborers building them.
Fayaz Leghari, Karachi police chief, said a larger catastrophe had narrowly been averted.
Also yesterday, the targets of a suspected US missile strike in Pakistan’s northwestern militant strongholds appeared to have survived by quickly abandoning their vehicle after an unmanned aircraft missed its first shot, local officials said.
It was one of the few reports of anyone surviving one of the escalating barrage of missiles fired by remotely piloted aircraft.