Before it crashed, the plane jolted violently in mid-air. Passenger Muhammad Zubair thought it was turbulence. Then the pilot came on the intercom to warn the plane was experiencing engine trouble and the landing could be "troublesome."
In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Zubair, one of only two survivors, told The Associated Press that Pakistan International Airlines flight PK8303 had taken off on time from the eastern city of Lahore at 1 p.m. It was a smooth, uneventful flight until the aircraft began its descent near Karachi.
Zubair said he survived by launched himself from the burning aircraft.
"When the plane caught fire. I unfastened my seatbelt and saw a light. I came out of the plane, I jumped from nearly 10 feet high," he said in a video interview with TRT World.
Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Abdul Sattar Kokhar said the Airbus A230 was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members. The only survivors of the crash were Zafar Masood, a bank executive, and Zubair, a mechanical engineer.
In a tweet Saturday, the Pakistan Armed Forces provided an update to its ongoing rescue operation.
"Rescue Op in progress by Army Search & Rescue Team, Army troops, Rangers & social welfare orgs. 97 bodies recovered. 2 passengers survived," it stated in the tweet. "25 affected houses cleared, their residents accommodated at various places with assistance of Civil Administration."
The 97 bodies recovered are believed to be passengers and crew members.
The plane crashed near Jinnah International Airport, in the poor, congested residential area known as Model Colony. PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafiz Khan said the aircraft destroyed or heavily damaged 18 homes.
After the crash, Zubair awoke in a scene of chaos. “I saw so much smoke and fire," he told the AP. "I heard people crying, children crying."
He dragged himself out of the rubble before someone pulled him into an ambulance.
Journalist Mansoor Ali Khan tweeted several images and videos of the wreckage shortly after the plane crashed.
In one video, people can be heard shouting in the street as a whistle blows, amid dangling power cords, black plumes of smoke and fire.
Meeran Yousaf, the provincial Health Department spokeswoman, said 21 of the bodies from Friday's crash have been identified. Most were badly burned. Eight people on the ground were injured, including three who are still hospitalized. All residents are accounted for, she said.
Because of the condition of the victims' bodies, officials were relying on DNA testing to identify them, according to The New York Times.