A Pakistani Airways plane carrying 48 people has crashed in the country’s northern mountainous region .
According to the civil aviation authority, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Flight PK661 came down during a flight from the city of Chitral to Islamabad.
Earlier it had been reported that the flight lost contact with ground control and was missing shortly after taking off from the northern city of Chitral today.
According to eye witnesses, the plane was burning in the air before it plummeted to the ground.
Rescue workers have pulled dozens of bodies from the wreckage and officials expressed little hope for survivors. Among those on board was Junaid Jamshed a famous Pakistani singer turned cleric.
The Telegraph reports:
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which occurred near the village of Saddha Batolni in Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The military, which was part of rescue operations, said 21 bodies had so far been retrieved from the wreckage.
“The way the plane crashed and broke into pieces, there is no chance of any survival,” Sardar Aurangzeb Nalota, a local legislator, told AFP.
Villagers were collecting body parts in shawls and on woven beds, he said, while police and rescue teams were searching the site with torches.
“The fuel tank is still on fire. the plane debris is scattered in the mountains and residents told me that it is completely destroyed,” Nalota said.
Ilyas Abbasi, a police official in the nearest town Havelian, said the site was more than four kilometres away over hilly terrain and had to be reached on foot.
The airline said the plane was an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, which lost contact en route from Chitral.
“A plane has crashed and locals told us that it is on fire,” Saeed Wazir, a senior local police official, said earlier.