Plane with 152 passengers crashes near Islamabad (Second Lead)

July 28th, 2010 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Benazir Bhutto Islamabad, July 28 (IANS) An aircraft carrying 152 people crashed amid heavy rain in the thickly wooded Margalla Hills bordering the Pakistani capital Wednesday morning. Four bodies have been recovered from the crash site, an official said.
The plane, flying from Karachi to Islamabad, suddenly lost contact with the airport here and crashed near the popular Damanekoh resort in the Margalla Hills.

Parvez George, Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson, said the plane belonged to private carrier Air Blue and was carrying 146 passengers and six crew.

“The plane was flying from Karachi to Islamabad and it lost contact with us at around 09.45 local time (0445 GMT),” DPA quoted George as saying.

Geo News quoted a Capital Development Authority (CDA) official as saying that four bodies have been recovered from the site where the aircraft crashed early Wednesday.

There were unconfirmed reports of eight survivors having been found.

The private airlines that was flying from Turkey to Islamabad via Karachi, the south port city of Pakistan, suddenly lost contact with the control tower of Islamabad airport, TV channel ARY News reported.

The flight had taken off from Karachi at 7.50 a.m.

Some areas of the Margalla Hills are fitted with anti-aircraft guns and many Pakistani troop checkpoints are located on the wooded hills.

Fire and thick smoke was clearly visible from the picnic spot of Damanekoh.

Eyewitnesses saw the aircraft taking a very low flight.

Rainfall in Islamabad and dense fog might have caused the incident, a source in the Rescue-1122 emergency services told Xinhua on phone.

Rescue efforts were promptly launched as a helicopter circled overhead to take stock of the situation.

Anxious relatives thronged the Benazir Bhutto International Airport to get information about their dear ones. A man cried inconsolably as he waited outside the airport to learn about the fate of the passengers.

Many flights have been grounded due to bad weather in eastern city of Lahore.

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