Pakistan Avian Authority Opens Probe Into Deadly Plane Crash

Pakistan Avian Authority Opens Probe Into Deadly Plane Crash
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Pakistani aviation authorities has opened a probe into a plane crash that killed 47 passengers and crew, as military helicopters ferried remains of plane crash victims to Islamabad on Thursday.

One of the engines of the small twin-propeller aircraft has failed shortly after take-off and crashed in the hillside village of Gug in the district of Abbottabad, according to Pervez George of the Civil Aviation Authority. The airline’s chairman has confirmed that all on board have died.

Witnesses said they saw the plane flying very low for several minutes before tilting and going down, then bursting into flames upon crashing in Gug. The village is located next to another, Saddha Batolni, from where residents also joined the rescue work.

“The plane was swaying … then I saw it hitting the hill with a loud bang,” said Chaudhry Rustam, a villager who rushed to the crash site. Then, thick black smoke was seen billowing from the debris, he added. It looked for a while the plane would fall on the village, he said, and “hundreds of villagers came out fearing it will destroy our homes.”

Reporters at the site on Thursday saw the plane’s wreckage strewn over a two kilometre radius, blackened from the smoke and fire overnight, with clothes, shoes and passenger bags scattered about.

Among those killed in the crash was Junaid Jamshed, a popular pop-singer-turned-Islamic-preacher who went to Chitral along with his wife, his family said. The couple’s remains were to be taken to the port city of Karachi after identification.

So far, authorities have identified only five bodies, said Junaid Sarwar, a hospital spokesman in the northwestern city of Abbottabad. The remains of others were so badly charred that the National Database and Registration Authority could not identify them at the hospital.

PIA says the plane lost contact with the control tower just before the crash in Gug, about 90km northwest of Islamabad.

 

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