Pakistan International Airlines carrying over 40 passengers crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 carrying over 40 passengers crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral on Wednesday at 4:42pm. So far, 21 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage.
PIA said PK 116 lost contact with the control tower en route to the capital, Islamabad, from the northern region of Chitral.
The plane crashed in the Havelian area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 125 km (77 miles) north of Islamabad.
PIA Spokesman Daniyal Gilani said there were 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer on board.
“All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered,” Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region said. Mr 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”.
The plane manifest shows there were to be 31 men, 9 women and 2 infants on board the flight, including three foreigners.
The flight crew included pilot captain Saaleh Janjua, and first officers Ali Akram and Ahmed Janjua.
Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Ahmad Warraich was also on board the ill-fated PIA flight. Among the passengers were nine women and two infants.
Eyewitnesses said they had seen a plane crash in a hilly area near Havelian, near the Ordinance factory. Clouds of smoke could be seen rising from the area of the reported crash.
PIA’s emergency response center can be contacted at 0092-21-99044890, 0092-21-99044376 and 0092-21-99044394.
Junaid Jamshed on board flight
What shocked Pakistanis most was that the pop star turned evangelical cleric Junaid Jamshed was on the plane when it crashed. Mr Jamshed retired from music in 2001 and announced he was devoting his life to Islam.
Chitral airport sources confirmed that Junaid Jamshed, his family, and Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Warraich were on board the flight and are feared to be among the casualties.
What caused the plane to crash?
PK-661 crashed near Abbottabad due to engine problems, according to global aviation watchdog Aviation Herald. TV reports also point towards a fault in the left engine, and ascribe blame to a technical fault in the aircraft. These claims have not been verified by the PIA.
“It remains to be seen if this was a technical fault,” Air Marshall (R) Shahid Latif told Express. “In Pakistan, there is a big question regarding whether international safety standards are followed when it comes to aircrafts.”