Cargo plane crashes in Karachi, killing at least 11

The crash site in Karachi The jet crashed into buildings that were under construction inside a naval base

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A cargo plane carrying eight people has crashed shortly after taking off from Karachi airport in Pakistan, killing all those on board.

The bodies of another three people killed on the ground have been found.

The Russian-made Ilyushin IL-76, crewed by Russians, was heading to the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The jet crashed into buildings under construction inside a naval base, close to Jinnah airport. TV footage showed rescuers fighting a large fire.

'Engine on fire'

"[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.

Start Quote

My son wasn't asleep and he saw the cockpit on fire and the crash. The plane was in more than two parts. It's totally burnt, it's a wreck”

End Quote Ayas Peer Mohammed Eyewitness

The aircraft narrowly missed several large apartment buildings, most of them reserved for naval officers and their families.

In addition to the three bodies of people on the ground, another labourer is reported missing.

Mr George added: "Rescue workers are still digging the debris. There may be more more dead bodies under it."

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.

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.

Map of Pakistan

"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.

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 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, a passenger plane operated by Pakistan's Airblue company crashed into hills overlooking the capital Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.

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