(BBC) – A plane carrying eight people has crashed shortly after taking off from Karachi airport in Pakistan, killing all those on board.
They say it was a Russian-made cargo plane heading to Sudan’s capital Khartoum and the crew was Russian.
The jet crashed into buildings that were under construction inside a naval base, close to Jinnah airport.
TV footage showed rescuers fighting a large fire. Reports say there were also casualties on the ground.
There were also reports of explosions.
‘Engine on fire’
“It (the plane) took off from Karachi at 0145 (2045 GMT) and after one-and-a-half minutes it crashed,” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George told the AFP news agency.
“It was an IL-76 cargo plane. It was going to Khartoum. It had eight people on board,” he said.
Unconfirmed reports say that two construction workers on the ground also died in the crash.
The BBC’s Shoaib Hasan in Karachi reports that another worker – who was sleeping near the premises – told how he ran for his life when he heard the plane coming. The worker spoke while being treated for injuries in a local hospital.
If the plane had crashed just 500 metres (560 yards) away, it would have hit a much more densely populated area, our correspondent adds.
Rescuers later recovered several bodies from the crash site, reports say.
Witnesses say they saw that one of the plane’s engines was on fire, which suggests that the cause of the crash may have been a mechanical failure.
“The plane crashed 800m away from my house. We heard the bang and we rushed out,” Ayas Peer Mohammed, a retired brigadier who lives in the naval residential area, told the BBC.
“My son wasn’t asleep and he saw the cockpit on fire and the crash. I went to the crash site immediately. Right now the fire vehicles are there and they are trying to extinguish the fire. The plane was in more than two parts. It’s totally burnt, it’s a wreck, there were many small pieces on fire,” he said.
“The plane crashed in an open area very close to the last inhabited building. I think the pilot tried to crash there on purpose,” Ayas Peer Mohammed added.
Our correspondent says that the blaze – which was fuelled by thousands of gallons of petrol – is now under control.
The explosion caused by the crash was so powerful that local residents thought it was triggered by a bomb, Karachi police chief Fayyas Leghari was quoted by the AFP as saying.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and an investigation is now under way.
The plane was carrying relief aid to Sudan.
Earlier this month, a small passenger plane crashed soon after take-off from Karachi, killing all 21 people on board.
In July, Pakistan’s Airblue passenger plane crashed into hills overlooking the capital Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.
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