Ill-fated PIA plane crashes singer turned religious scholar among those on board

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A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight has crashed near Abbottabad with 48 passengers on board. The flight number PK 661 took off from Chitral and was en route to Islamabad and was met with an accident today Wednesday, December 7.

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PIA’s spokesperson in a statement said: “PIA aircraft ATR-42 (AP-BHO) crashed near Havelian at 1642 hours, 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer were on board. Rescue efforts are underway, and we are ascertaining the extent of damage to life of those on board the aircraft.”

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The ill-fated plane hit the ground near a small village called Saddha Batolni near Havelian, as detailed by the PIA’s spokesperson. In line with a previous official statement the plane had lost contact. “We regret to inform that PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago. All resources are being mobilized to locate the aircraft. Media will be kept informed as situation develops.

PIA’s emergency response center has been activated and can be accessed at following phone numbers for updates:0092-21-99044890, 0092-21-99044376 and 0092-21-99044394,” PIA’s Public Affairs Division stated.

“The plane has crashed in a far-flung village in the mountains. One has to travel for more than four kilometres on foot to reach the spot. Villagers on site told us that the plane was first on fire and now smoke is rising from the wreckage. Police and rescue officials are on the way,” Ilyas Abbasi, a police official in Havelian said.

Meanwhile, military’s media wing ISPR said 36 bodies have been recovered so far, while the rescue operation continues. The dead bodies are being shifted to Ayub Medical Teaching Hospital Abbottabad, Pakistan Disaster Management Authority Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa stated.

A government official Taj Muhammad Khan, present on the scene said that the possibilities of finding survivors are almost none. “All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered.” He added that witnesses told him “the aircraft has crashed in a mountainous area, and before it hit the ground it was on fire.”