PIA flight crashes near Havelian, Pakistan

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PIA Flight 661 crashed into a mountainous region near Havelian, Pakistan today. None of those on board are thought to have survived.

The aircraft involved, from file.
Image: Asuspine.

The Pakistan International Airlines domestic flight from Chitral was nearing its destination in Islamabad. PIA said the ATR-42 carried 42 passengers, five crewmembers, and one additional staff member. Dozens of bodies, many badly burned, have been recovered from the fiery wreckage.

Local policeman Kurshid Tanoli said emergency vehicles can only reach Batolani, the nearest village. Personnel must then walk half an hour to the scene, he said.

Debris is strewn for several kilometres across the Abbottabad region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Bodies are being recovered to Ayub Medical Teaching Hospital. The airline said the flight carried two Austrians and one Chinese national.

Among those on board was Junaid Jamshed, a celebrated popstar who abandoned music in favour of preaching after joining Tableeghi Jamaat. Jamshed ran a nationally successful fashion business. His wife joined him on the flight. Osama Warraich, a senior civil servant in Chitral, was also on board.

Another view of the plane involved, taken at Chitral
Image: ZehraRaza73.

Passengers also included two infants.

The aircraft, AP-BHO, was just under ten years old. PIA reported the aircraft encountered engine trouble at around 16:15 local time. After beginning a descent and declaring mayday, the plane lost control and turned left before crashing. The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are in the Civil Aviation Authority's possession.

Pakistani media has claimed the flight was operating with some known technical faults. The Aviation Herald reports receiving information to the contrary.