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Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK-661 With More Than 40 on Board Crashes Near Abbottabad

A Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-661, with 47 passengers on board, en route to Islamabad from Chitral crashed near Abbottabad on Wednesday, Pakistani media reported.

News18.com

Updated:December 7, 2016, 9:30 PM IST
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All 48 people on board a PIA plane, including famous pop singer-turned-Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed and three foreigners, were killed on Wednesday as the aircraft crashed and burst into flames in a hilly area near Pakistan's Abbottabad after facing engine problems.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane PK-661 with 48 people, including Jamshed, his wife and Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Warraich, on board crashed in Saddha Batolni village near Pakistan Ordinance Factory, Havelian, while en route to Islamabad from Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that there are no survivors. So far, 36 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage.

“We regret to inform that PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with a control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago. All resources are being mobilised to locate the aircraft. Media will be kept informed as situation develops,” PIA spokesperson Danial Gilani said in a statement.

The DPO Abbottabad had also confirmed that Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed near Havelian between Majab and Piplian.

Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying by media reports that they had seen a plane crash in a hilly area near Havelian.

Also read: Popular Pakistani Singer-Turned-Preacher Junaid Jamshed Feared Dead as PIA Plane Crashes Near Abbottabad

"All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered," Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told Reuters.

Khan, who was at the site of the crash, added that witnesses told him "the aircraft has crashed in a mountainous area, and before it hit the ground it was on fire".

Dawn News quoted PIA Spokesman Daniyal Gilani as saying that there were 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer on board.

Clouds of smoke could be seen rising from the area of the reported crash.

Ground rescue teams had been sent to the area, officials said.

"PIA's ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with the control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago," PIA Spokesman Daniyal Gilani tweeted. "All resources are being mobilised to locate the aircraft."

At least 36 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage, PTI reported. Local media reports also suggested that bodies had been sent for DNA tests as they were unrecognisable.

“The priority is to recover bodies. Then will come the recovery of the parts of the aircraft,” a rescue team member was quoted as saying.

Abid Ali, a senior official of the national disaster and management cell, said rescue work was underway at the crash site and six helicopters were being used in the operation but it would take time to recover the debris and all bodies as the crash took place in a mountainous region.

Pakistan has had a poor air safety track record in recent years.

In 2012, a Bhoja Airline plane, a Boeing 737 carrying 121 passengers and six crew members, crashed near Islamabad just before touchdown.

The worst aviation tragedy on Pakistani soil came in July 2010 when an Airbus 321 passenger jet operated by the private airline Airblue crashed into hills overlooking Islamabad. The flight was coming from Karachi.

All 152 people on board were killed in the accident, which occurred amid heavy rain and poor visibility.

Another deadly civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet occured in 1992 when a PIA Airbus A300 crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on its approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, killing 167 people.

(With inputs from agencies)

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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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