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A Pakistani passenger plane with more than 100 people on board has crashed near the southern city of Karachi on Friday, the country’s aviation authority said.

Images shown on national television showed the Pakistan International Airlines flight had smashed into a residential area.

“The plane crashed in Karachi. We are trying to confirm the number of passengers but initially, it is 99 passengers and eight crew members,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the spokesman for the country’s aviation authority.

Mr Khokhar added that the aircraft was en route to Karachi from Lahore.

Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport.

Images aired on national television showed the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight had smashed into a residential area, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the site.

The Pakistan military later tweeted that security forces had been deployed to the area and helicopters were being used to survey the damage and help ongoing rescue operations.

It comes just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after planes were grounded during a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

The crash comes as Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

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