48 killed in Pakistani passenger plane crash
A passenger plane with 48 persons on board yesterday crashed in Pakistan, killing all its occupants. The Pakistan International Airlines ATR-42 aircraft vanished after taking off from the Northern Chitral region.
Pakistani pop star, actor and TV presenter, Junaid Jamshed, was among those who perished when the plane crashed. It is also believed two children were among the casualties.
So far, 36 bodies have been recovered from the site of the crash, AFP reports, with local legislator Sardar Aurangzeb Nalota saying there is “no chance” anyone survived.
The national carrier confirmed in a statement that Flight PK-661, from the city of Chitral to Islamabad, had lost contact with air traffic controllers.It is understood that a mayday call had been made shortly before the plane disappeared.
The airline has confirmed that the plane was carrying 42 passengers, five crew members and a ground engineer.Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told Reuters: “All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered.”
Police official, Ilyas Abbasi, told AFP that villagers had been retrieving body parts from the wreckage.He said: “The plane has crashed in a far-flung village in the mountains. One has to travel for more than four kilometres on foot to reach the spot. Villagers on site told us that the plane was first on fire and now smoke is rising from the wreckage.”
Reports in Pakistan suggest the plane was previously plagued by engine problems.Secretary of Aviation, Irfan Ilahi, told reporters in Islamabad, “It is premature to say anything at the moment, but we know that the aircraft had engine problems.”
The plane was around 10 years old, and had been involved in an incident in 2009, according to AirLive. The airline said the plane was an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, which lost contact en route from Chitral.
He said witnesses had told him that the aircraft had crashed into the mountainous area, and was on fire before it hit the ground.It is believed that there were 31 men, nine women and two children on board the flight when it crashed.Junaid Jamshed, a Pakistani pop star turned evangelical Muslim cleric, was on board, an airline official confirmed to Reuters.
Jamshed, who had 2.8 million Facebook fans, has been named among the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.In his last Twitter post, tweeted to his 441,000 followers, he described Chitral as ‘heaven on earth’.
Osama Warraich, Deputy Commissioner of Chitral, was also on board the flight, the airline has confirmed.Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, said in a statement “the entire nation is deeply saddened over today’s unfortunate crash and shares the grief of the families who lost their dear ones.”