A domestic Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight bound for Islamabad lost contact with air traffic controllers 90 minutes after its departure from the mountainous northern city of Chitral. The plane, an ATR-42 aircraft, was then later confirmed to have crashed about 125km north of Islamabad. Muhammad Azam Saigol, the Chairman for PIA confirmed that there are no survivors. There were 48 people onboard: 42 passengers (one of which was the nation's loved popstars, Junaid Jamshed), five crew members and a ground engineer.
According to a PIA spokesperson, a 'mayday' distress call was made before the flight went off the radar. Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in Havelian (the area where the crash happened), claimed witnesses saw the aircraft going in flames before plummeting to the ground. Also according to Khan, who was present at the crash site, there are unlikely to be any survivors. "All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered." More eyewitness accounts explained that the site continued to burn two hours after the crash happened as officials launch a search for survivors while "removing body parts".
Image: Daily Mail
Image: The Telegraph
While there is still no official report as to what caused the unfortunate incident, Irfan Elahi, the government's Aviation Secretary, suggested that it could have been the result of a faulty engine.
At press time, about 40 bodies have been recovered and as investigation continues, PIA chairman Azam Sehgal assures that the "focus at the moment is to retrieve dead bodies from the wreckage, transport them to Islamabad and hand them over to their families."