A Pakistan plane carrying 152 people crashed near Islamabad, leaving no survivors in what’s being called the worst air disaster in Pakistan’s history.
At least 152 passengers including crew members have been killed after a private airliner Air Blue domestic flight ED-202 crashed into the Margalla hills on Wednesday. The plane was on its way from Karachi to Islamabad.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has confirmed that all the passengers on board have been killed. Chairman of Islamabad’s Capital Development Authority Imtiaz Elahi also said, “There are no survivors. We believe all are dead. We are recovering the remains of the dead bodies from the wreckage.”
Air Blue Operations official, W. Hameed Mirza told that there were 152 passengers on board the plane which was flying from Karachi to Islamabad. Among the passengers six were crew members. It is also reported that two Americans were also among the passengers.
The tragedy took place at about 9:45 am local time when an airbus flight of a Pakistani private airliner Airblue, crashed in the mountains of Margalla Hills near Islamabad.
It is reported that the plane lost its contact with the air tower due to thick fog and heavy rainfall in Islamabad and resultantly crashed but the exact cause of the crash is yet not known. It is also reported that the pilot was instructed to not to land the plane due to traffic on the runway. Eyewitnesses say the plane was flying at low altitude during bad weather. Meanwhile, the CAA has recovered the black box from the blast site, which may help determine the cause of the crash.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has set up a six-member investigative team, headed by Air Commodore Khwaja Majeed to probe the incident. Airblue spokesman Raheel Ahmed told reporters that the crash was “an extremely tragic incident”, adding that an investigation has been launched.
Emergency was declared in Islamabad hospitals after the incident where all the injured and dead bodies were shifted but no one could survive and all the injured succumbed to their injuries. Rescue team are still undertaking rescue operation at the incident place from last 7 hours.
Prime Minister Gilani, Chief Ministers, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira reached the incident plane through a helicopter. The PM has ordered the Defence Ministry to conduct an inquiry into the matter. He also announced one-day national mourning.
Air Blue is one of Pakistan’s most respected airlines. It has been operating only since 2004, using new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft on domestic routes and international services to Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Manchester. Pakistan enjoys a relatively good air safety record.
The most recent fatal commercial crash was a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F27 that came down in July 2006, killing 45 people on take-off from the central city of Multan, bound for Lahore. The deadliest civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet was a PIA Airbus A300 that crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on its approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, killing 167 people in September 1992.
No survivors of plane crash, says Rehman Malik
Interior Minister Rehman Malik talking to Dunya News informed that a large scale relief and rescue operation is underway to assist the victims of the tragedy. He said that all passengers on board have been killed.
Rehman Malik said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari have sent their helicopters to assist the relief and rescue operations. He informed that a crisis management cell has been constituted to coordinate the operation efficiently. He added that the rescue and aid efforts are being hampered due to poor weather condition.