PIA plane with over 100 onboard crashes in Karachi
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with over 100 people onboard crashed in a residential area in Karachi near the city's Jinnah International Airport on Friday, a spokesman for the flag carrier said, but did not confirm any casualties.
 
"The plane PK 8303 with 99 passengers and eight crew members has crashed," The Express tribune quoted the spokesman as saying.
 
The crash took place in the city's densely populated Model Colony area. It caused significant damage in the residential area and reportedly destroyed four residences.
 
PIA spokesperson Abdul Sattar confirmed the crash and added that the A320 Airbus was flying from Lahore to Karachi.
 
"Saying anything right now would be premature. Our crew is trained to handle emergency landings.
 
"All my prayers are with the families. We will continue to provide information in a transparent manner," he was quoted as saying in a statement by Dawn news.
 
Footage showed plumes of smoke rising from the site of the crash.
 
A witness told Dawn news that the plane was on fire in the air before crashing.
 
A PIA official, speaking to a private TV channel, said the aircraft lost communication with the ground staff at 2.37 p.m. and crashed around a minute before landing.
 
Another official told The Express Tribune that the plane was leased from China and was around 10 to 12 years old.
 
Reportedly both engines failed, added the official.
 
"The plane took off from Lahore at 1 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Karachi at 2.45 p.m."
 
A statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Pakistan Army Aviation helicopters have arrived on the spot for rescue efforts and damage assessment while Urban Search and Rescue teams are also on the ground.
 
Confirming the incident, a senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority said the rescue operation was underway.
 
"It is too early to say anything. We are collecting details of passengers," The Express Tribune quoted the official as saying.
 
Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa condoled "loss of precious lives" and directed provision of full assistance to civil administration in rescue/relief effort.
 
Following the crash, Sindh Minister of Health & Population Welfare declared an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi.
 
SAPM on Information and broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa said that on Prime Minister Imran Khan's directions, all emergency services and resources have been mobilised and evacuation is in progress.
 
Last year, a PIA aircraft skidded off the runway while landing at Gilgit airport.
 
Passengers had remained safe in the accident, but the plane suffered considerable damage.
 
On December 6, 2016, PIA flight PK-661 carrying 48 passengers and crew had crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral, killing all on board.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Lancet slams Trump for citing study that doesn't exist in WHO letter
    Prestigious British medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday refuted claims made by US President Donald Trump in his letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying that the Lancet study cited in the letter about Wuhan outbreak in December 2019 does not exist.
     
    Trump, in his letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the organisation has "failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts".
     
    He cited a Lancet study in his letter, saying the WHO consistently ignored reports of the virus spreading in China in early December, including ones featured in The Lancet.
     
    "This statement is factually incorrect. The Lancet published no report in December, 2019, referring to a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or anywhere else in China," the British medical journal said in a statement.
     
    The journal said the first reports it published were on January 24, adding that the scientists and physicians who led one of the studies were all from Chinese institutions, reports NBCNews.
     
    "They worked with us to quickly make information about this new epidemic outbreak and the disease it caused fully and freely available to an international audience," the statement further read.
     
    A second Lancet paper, also published on January 24, described the first scientific evidence confirming person-to-person transmission of the new virus.
     
    Richard Horton, who is editor-in-chief of The Lancet, tweeted: "Dear President Trump - You cite The Lancet in your attack on WHO. Please let me correct the record. The Lancet did not publish any report in early December, 2019, about a virus spreading in Wuhan. The first reports we published were from Chinese scientists on Jan 24, 2020."
     
    The Lancet said allegations levelled against the WHO in Trump's letter were "serious and damaging".
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    America faces 'darkest winter', has no master plan: US whistleblower
    Rick Bright, a US government whistleblower recently fired by the Trump administration, delivered a chilling testimony in the Congress on Thursday about the country hurtling into the "darkest winter in modern history" unless there is strong leadership and a master plan to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic—both of which he said were absent right now.
     
    Bright's testimony came barely 48 hours after America's top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci warned in a Senate testimony of suffering and death if US states reopen too quickly.
     
    Bright testified before a Congressional panel on Thursday by which time Covid-19 has killed more than 84,000 people in the US. America now accounts for the world's highest caseload with more than 1.4 million sickened by the virus since the first case was reported in January.
     
    Bright painted an alarming picture of organisational chaos in the US government after he warned of insufficient mask supply back in January.
     
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    "The undeniable fact is that there will be a resurgence of (Covid-19) this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system," he said.
     
    "Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history," Bright said.
     
    Bright tore into America's response and urged the government to allow scientists to be allowed to speak without "fear of retribution". During his testimony, Bright contradicted nearly every major claim that US President Donald Trump has made so far on pandemic planning and testing in the US.
     
    Bright warned Americans that there is neither a "vaccine plan" nor a "master plan" in the US at the moment.
     
    He called for increasing public education around "simple things" like hand washing and mask wearing in public. "Frankly, our leaders must lead by modelling the behavior," Bright said, without naming US leaders who continue to go maskless in public.
     
    "We need a national testing strategy. The virus is here, it is everywhere. We need to be able to test and isolate," he said in a sobering, five-minute opening statement.
     
    "Pages from our pandemic playbook have been ignored by leaders," Bright said.
     
    "Our window of opportunity is closing," Bright said, adding, "If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities."
     
    Trump has dismissed Bright as "a really unhappy, disgruntled guy". Trump's comments on Bright follow after he brushed aside Fauci's warnings earlier this week that premature reopening may "turn the clock back".
     
    Bright claims that he became a target after he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on strategic national supplies. 
     
    He said the friction escalated after he opposed widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that Trump has touted multiple times as a "gamechanger" for treating Covid-19 patients. Bright was removed from his post in late April.
     
    "We still do not have standardised, coordinated plan to lead us through this response," he said on Thursday.
     
    Echoing Fauci's view, Bright said a 12-18-month trajectory is the most aggressive for vaccine development. Before that, therapeutics will be America's best bet, he said.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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