REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG
APakistani plane carrying 47 people crashed Wednesday on a domestic flight from the mountainous northern city of Chitral to Islamabad, aviation authorities said.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Flight PK661 crashed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the civil aviation authority told AFP.
The plane came down near the town of Havelian in Abbottabad district in the province.
There are unlikely to be any survivors, a government official on the scene said.
“All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered,” Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told Reuters.
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”.
An earlier airline statement said the ATR-42 turboprop aircraft had lost contact en route from Chitral.
Pakistan’s recent air disasters
Pakistan’s last major air disaster was in 2015 when a Pakistani military helicopter crashed in a remote northern valley, killing eight people including the Norwegian, Philippine and Indonesian envoys and the wives of Malaysian and Indonesian envoys.
The deadliest crash was in 2010, when an Airbus 321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into hills outside Islamabad while about to land, killing all 152 on board.
The accident was blamed on a confused captain and a hostile cockpit atmosphere in an official report.
Fears Pakistani pop star-turned cleric was on board
Local television stations are reporting Pakistani pop star-turned evangelical cleric Junaid Jamshed was on board the plane that crashed.
An airline official told Reuters that the Pakistani pop star turned evangelical Muslim cleric, was on board the flight. His name appeared on a passenger manifest for Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) flight PK661 and his presence on board was confirmed by Sohail Ahmed, a PIA official in Chitral.
Jamshed rocketed to fame in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s as the singer for the Vital Signs rock group, and later launched a solo career, with a string of chart-topping albums and hits.