Wednesday, July 28, 2010

152 feared dead after Pakistani plane crash

More than 150 people are feared dead after a passenger plane crashed in the hills just to the north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Authorities said that all the bodies had been recovered from the wreckage and it was unlikely anyone survived.

The Airblue flight, an Airbus A321 with 146 passengers and six crew on board, was coming into land after flying from Karachi. The plane came down in the Margalla Hills. Bad weather is thought to be a factor in the disaster with heavy rain and fog reported at the time of the crash which occurred at around 10:00 local time [06:00 GMT].

Local TV footage showed twisted metal wreckage hanging from trees and scattered across the ground. Officials said rescuers searching for survivors were digging through the rubble with their bare hands and that at least one of the data recorders had been recovered from the scene which will be used to establish the cause of the crash.

It is unclear whether there were any foreign nationals on board the plane. Passports are not needed for internal flights and it may take some time to establish the identities of those on board, authorities have said. 

Airblue flies within Pakistan as well as internationally to the UAE, Oman and the UK. It has a virtually unblemished record with only one recorded accident, a tailstrike which happened at Pakistan's Quetta airport in May 2008. There were no casualties and damage was minimal, according to the US-based Aviation Safety Network [BBC / Sky / CNN].

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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