A plane crash that killed 97 people in Pakistan last month was caused by human error, according to an initial report.
Pakistan International Airlines flight PK8303 had taken off on time from the eastern city of Lahore on May 22. It was a smooth, uneventful flight until the aircraft began its descent near Karachi, where the plane jolted violently in mid-air before crashing. The incident had only two survivors.
BBC News and the Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News report that aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced to parliament Wednesday that the aircraft was fit, but the plane failed to follow protocol.
"The pilot, as well as the (air traffic) controller, didn't follow the standard rules," Khan said, according to AFP. "The pilot and co-pilot were not focused and throughout they were having a conversation about corona. The (virus) was on their minds. Their families were affected and they were having a discussion about it."
USA TODAY has reached out to Pakistan's federal minister for aviation.
In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Zubair, one of only two survivors, told The Associated Press that he survived by launching 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.
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.
Contributing: Morgan Hines
More:Pakistan International Airlines flight crashes, with nearly 100 people on board
Ask the Captain:If both pilots become incapacitated, who can land the plane?