London-bound PIA plane malfunctions, makes emergency landing

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KARACHI – The engine of a London-bound Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) airplane caught fire on Sunday forcing it to perform an emergency landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, eyewitnesses said.

However, a PIA spokesman said the Airbus 310 had to land back at Karachi after one of the engines malfunctioned, denying eyewitness and media reports of the engine catching fire.

“The aeroplane Airbus A-310 was airborne for about 55 minutes. Capt. Ahmed Saeed noticed that one of the two engines malfunctioned and…skillfully made safe landing at Karachi,” said the spokesman.

Civil Association Authority (CAA) spokesman Pervaiz George also said the plane landed back at Karachi airport after one of its engines developed a technical fault.

“PK- 787 took off at 11.46 hours with 168 passengers and crew on board. The pilot soon felt some technical fault in his plane’s engine No.1 and reported to land back. The plane returned here at 12.08 hours in a normal and safe manner,” said the CAA spokesman.

All passengers on board were safely evacuated, he confirmed.

The PIA spokesman said the passengers were boarded on another plane which took off for London at 03:15 pm, and was expected to reach Heathrow Airport at 07:15 pm local time Sunday.

Pakistan’s airline industry has been tarnished by a string of tragic accidents in recent years.

In April this year, all 127 on board Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737-200 lost their lives when the flight flew from Karachi airport but crashed five kilometers from Islamabad.

Earlier in July, 2010, an Airblue jetliner crashed into Islamabad’s Margalla hills, killing all 146 passengers and six crew members on board.

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