Plane crash in Rawalpindi: Live updates
RAWALPINDI: A passenger plane, flight B213 of Bhoja Air, crashed at the Koral Chowk on Islamabad Express Highway in Rawalpindi on Friday, reported Express News.
It was carrying over 100 passengers and was headed from Karachi to Islamabad.
The passenger list can be viewed here.
An official says this cannot be termed a routine accident.
There were conflicting reports about how many people were on board the plane.
A senior defence ministry official said initial reports suggested there were 126 people on board, Civil Aviation Authority said it was carrying 121 passengers and nine crew, and the chief of Islamabad police Bani Amin told AFP from the crash site that 127 were on board.
“There is no chance of any survivors. It will be only a miracle. The plane is totally destroyed,” police officer Fazle Akbar told AFP from the crash site.
Two-kilometre-long traffic jam near Islamabad airport. Ambulances finding it very hard to get through, reports The Express Tribune‘s Vaqas Asghar.
An eyewitness told Express News,” I was parking my car and I felt as if there was an explosion in the air. As plane parts started falling, I felt that I would die too.”
Another eyewitness said that at least 5-10 nearby houses have been destroyed and the bodies were strewn over one kilometre.
The plane blew up while it was in the air, said another eyewitness. It was raining and there was lightening when the plane blew up, he added.
“We could not make out the bodies, they were strewn all over along with plane parts,” he said.
Javed Malik was the co-pilot of the plane.
Saifur Rehman, an official from the police rescue team said the plane came down in Hussainabad village, about three kilometres from the main Islamabad highway.
“Fire erupted after the crash. The wreckage is on fire, the plane is completely destroyed. We have come with teams of firefighters and searchlights and more rescuers are coming,” Rehman told Geo News.
CAA has established a crisis cell at the Karachi airport and relatives of the passengers are asked to call at 92-21-99071384 and 92-21-99071385 for information.
Bhoja Air Public Relations Officer Jasir Abro said, “We want everyone to stop speculating. We’re trying to find out what happened, where, and how it happened. As soon as we find out more information about the crash the list will be made public.”
An information desk has been established on the second floor at Domestic Departures at the Karachi airport and the families of the passengers can receive information from there.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has expressed deep grief over the plane crash. He has directed the CAA to use all resources for the rescue operation, reported The Express Tribune correspondent Sumera Khan.
Group Captain Mujahidul Islam, head of Safety Investigation Board CAA, will lead an inquiry into the incident.
Two operation rooms have been set up at Benazir Bhutto Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi and Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
Rescue 1122 officials say that no one has survived the crash.
The Express Tribune correspondent Shaheryar Mirza reported that 116 people had travelled on the plane, five were reported to be infants. The flight had six crew members on board.
As many as 100 Army troops have reached the spot and have taken charge of rescue efforts.
Crash site has agricultural land and some residential plots.
Emergency has been declared in all hospitals of Islamabad.
As many as 100 Army personnel are on their way to the crash site for rescue work.
Family members of those on board have started arriving at the airports.
Air traffic control says that they did not receive any distress call from the pilot in the moments before the crash.
Rescue 1122 officials say that the plane has been completed destroyed and it is being feared that there are no survivors.
A witness told Dunya News that dead bodies could be seen lying all around after the jet went down before landing.
Express News Islamabad correspondent Qamarul Munawwar reported that rescue vehicles are still on the roads due to the traffic. The rescue officials claim that CAA is not telling them the exact site of the incident.
CAA former DG Junaid Ameen, talking to Express News, said the bad weather is usually not the cause of plane crashes because planes have equipments which help in dealing with the situation. “Planes are designed to fly in bad weather.”
Air traffic controllers say that the crash happened due to bad weather and confirmed that the plane belonged to Bhoja Air.
Express News correspondent in Karachi, Aftab Ali, reported that five babies were among the passengers.
The plane took off from Karachi at 5:00pm and was supposed to land in Islamabad at 6:40pm but crashed just before touchdown, reported Geo News.
Witnessed told Dunya News that flame could be seen rising from the crash site and the fire has reportedly engulfed several buildings.
Army troops have also been moved to the area where the plane crashed.
Plane was supposed to fly over Jinnah Garden to approach its destination and land at the airport.
The crash site has been cordoned off by Koral police.
Sources say that the plane crashed in a residential area in Jinnah Garden, but it has not been confirmed.
All rescue vehicles of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been rushed to the spot including fire tenders, but traffic jam near the crash site is hampering rescue vehicles from reaching the site.
CAA authorities have refrained from giving out any official statement.
This was the first flight of Bhoja Air after the service started.
It is currently raining in Rawalpindi and it being suggested that the bad weather could have been the cause of the plane crash.
According to authorities, the plane crashed 10km away from the runway of Islamabad airport, near Chaklala airbase.
Rescue officials from Islamabad and Rawalpindi, as well as the Civil Aviation Authority, have left for the crash site.
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