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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani airliner crashes in Islamabad

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 28, IRNA -- A Pakistani passenger plane carrying more than 150 passengers crashed into Margalla Hills on Wednesday morning near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, a civil aviation spokesman said.

So far 10 bodies have been recovered from the site of the crash, said a senior Islamabad municipal official Imtiaz Inayat.

“Several bodies are lying in the area but there are thin chances of survivor, he added.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said five injured people were recovered from the site and were rushed to a hospital for treatment.

The rescue teams have been dispatched to the site of the incident but they are facing extreme difficulties due to weather and no walking terrains at the site. Three army aviation helicopters are engaged in rescue operation.

“The plane was about to land at Islamabad airport when it lost contact with the control tower, and later we learned that the plane had crashed”, Pervez George, a Civil Aviation Authority official said.

“The 152 on board included 146 passengers along with six crew members”, George said. The commercial airliner of Air Blue apparently crashed due to rough weather.

The smoke is seen rising through heavy clouds from the crash site, police and rescue service officials said.

Eyewitnesses said people noticed airbus flying at very low altitude near Maragalla Hills and it might have crashed due to rough weather.

The plane was coming from Turkey via the city of Karachi. The flight took off at 7:50 am from Karachi to Islamabad but crashed due to uneven weather. Islamabad is witnessing heavy showers and thick fog at the moment.

An emergency has been imposed in all hospitals of Islamabad and Rawalpindi . President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed grief over this tragic incident.

The President and Prime Minister directed immediate rescue efforts and coordinated measures to reach the inaccessible site.

A cell has been established in National Crisis Management Cell, Ministry of Interior.

Mohammed Usman, an official at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport said dozens of relatives of passengers gathered there were crying and desperate to get information about their loved ones.

Raheel Ahmed, a spokesman for Air Blue, said an investigation would be launched, but that for now the focus was to find survivors. The plane was no more than eight years old, and it had no known technical issues, Ahmed said.

Air Blue flies within Pakistan as well as internationally to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the United Kingdom.

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