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Pakistan International Airlines Plane Crash in Karachi

airplane flying through the clouds

On May 22, 2020, an Airbus A320 plane operating as Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 crashed in a dense residential area of Karachi, killing nearly everyone on board and injuring dozens of others.

The fatal crash of PIA PK-8303 occurred at around 2:39 p.m. local time in the Model Colony neighborhood. The airliner was taking at least 91 passengers and 7 crew members from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi, a flight that should take about an hour and a half in the air.

According to media reports, the Airbus A320 plane made one landing attempt at approximately 2:34 p.m. that the pilot decided to abort. A senior aviation official told the news media that the plane had a technical issue and was unable to drop its wheels prior to landing.

Shortly after the first landing attempt, the pilot issued a mayday with air traffic controllers (ATC). “We have lost engines,” the pilot told ATC. The Airbus A320 is a twin-engine aircraft.

At least two survivors were pulled from the wreckage. One of them, Zafar Masud, president of Punjab Bank, was thankful that his life was spared in the horrific crash, remarking, “God has been merciful.”

Numerous people on the ground were hospitalized. Government reports indicate that at least six structures were completely destroyed in the PIA plane crash, and at least 25 residents in the Model Colony neighborhood were injured in the crash and subsequent explosion.

Aviation Attorneys with Decades of Experience Representing Airline Crash Victims and Their Families

The airline accident attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have decades of experience obtaining justice and compensation on behalf of victims harmed in international airline crashes. Across all areas of practice, or firm has won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients in cases stemming from plane crashes to consumer mass tort cases against major corporations.

Our firm has handled 30 international plane crashes, including:

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302: On Mar. 10, 2019, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operating as Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after departing from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. There were no survivors. The 157 victims included citizens of the United States, Britain, Canada, Ethiopia, and many other countries. Our firm represents several victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash.

Germanwings Flight 9525: On Mar. 24, 2015, an Airbus A320 operating as Germanwings Flight 9525 plunged from a flight altitude of 37,000 feet and crashed in the French Alps, killing everyone on board. The flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf was filled with 144 passengers and six crew members. Our plane crash lawyers represented the family of the only US residents killed in the crash.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214: On July 6, 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed during a failed landing attempt at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), killing three passengers and injuring 181 other people. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the flight crew’s mismanagement of the descent was the probable cause of the crash. Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represented 17 passengers who were injured in the Asiana crash.

Our aviation attorneys also have vast experience litigating cases involving Airbus and the companies that manufacturer flight components for Airbus planes:

  • JetBlue Flight 2276 Inflight Engine Explosion, Airbus A320, from San Juan Puerto Rico to Connecticut, 2020
  • JetBlue Flight 1416 inflight emergency, Airbus A320, Long Beach, California to Austin, Texas, 2014
  • JetBlue Flight 262 hard landing, Airbus A320, Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento, California, 2010
  • TACA Airlines Flight 390 runway accident, Airbus 320, Toncontin International Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 2008
  • American Airlines Flight 587 crash, Airbus A300, Belle Harbor (Queens), New York, 2001

Some of our most notable aviation cases have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements:

  • $17.5 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major US plane crash
  • $14 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major US plane crash
  • $12 million settlement for an injured passenger in a helicopter crash
  • $10 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major foreign plane crash
  • $7.5 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a helicopter crash
  • 136 aviation cases settled for $1 million or more
  • Earned the first known public apology from a major airline

If you or someone in your family was harmed in the Pakistan plane crash of PIA 8303, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced aviation attorney with a proven track record of success litigating international plane crash cases. Our track record against major airlines and aircraft manufacturers speaks for itself.

To speak with an attorney, call us today at (855) 948-5098 or contact us.

What Caused the Pakistan Plane Crash?

We likely will not learn the official cause of the Pakistan plane crash for at least a year or more. Investigations of major airline crashes typically take between a year and two years to complete, sometimes longer.

Veteran trial attorney Ronald L.M. Goldman, who leads Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman’s aviation department, says the investigation will primarily focus on the aircraft, which had logged a considerable amount of flight hours prior to the fatal plane crash in Karachi.

Aviation records indicate that the Airbus A320 was flown in the China Eastern Airlines fleet between 2004 and 2014. The plane then entered Pakistan International Airlines’ fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).

According to Mr. Goldman, the downed Airbus A320 had more than 47,000 flight hours, which includes a staggering amount of takeoffs and landings.

“We know that the pilot lost engines prior to the crash so investigators will need to answer the question of why,” says Mr. Goldman. “There is a long history of engine fan blade fatigue on older airliners, so we will certainly be following that issue closely as the investigation proceeds.”

Another issue for investigators is the plane’s wheels not coming down during the first landing attempt, as has been reported in the media. “If these reports are true, the pilot was forced to contend with a series of mechanical failures that even the most seasoned pilots in the world would find perilous,” says Mr. Goldman.

Lastly, Mr. Goldman says the investigators will need to review the maintenance records prior to the fatal crash.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Background

Pakistan International Airlines is the national air carrier of Pakistan. The airline has nearly a dozen Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet.

According to media reporting, the airline has a checkered safety history. In 2016, a PIA plane burst into flames after one of its engines failed on a flight to Islamabad. The plane crashed, killing more than 40 people.

The airline has also been involved in controversies involving its pilots being drunk in the cockpit. In 2013, a PIA pilot was arrested in England after he smelled of alcohol while preparing to fly a commercial flight with 150 passengers to Islamabad.



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