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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No survivors found at plane crash site in Pakistan - Defense Ministry

RIA Novosti

17:01 28/07/2010 NEW DELHI, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - No survivors have been recovered from the site of a passenger plane crash near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, despite earlier reports that at least eight people had been evacuated, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We have found no survivors at the scene of the crash," Sayed Azmat Ali said. "The area is difficult to access; efforts to recover the bodies are ongoing."

He added that a battalion of army servicemen was involved in the operation.

The Airblue company plane, which crashed on Wednesday morning shortly before landing, was flying from Turkey to Islamabad via the Pakistani city of Karachi. It was carrying 146 passengers and 6 crew members. Other reports say that at least 153 passengers were on board.

Pakistani TV earlier said that up to 40 people on board of the plane could have survived.

Rescue officials said the death toll could not be determined yet.

Pakistani government officials said at least 80 bodies had so far been recovered from the crash site.

The plane crashed in the Margalla Hills, about 30 km from Islamabad airport.

National media reported that the plane burst into flames during landing and thick black smoke engulfed the area.

"The plane was landing in Islamabad when something went wrong," an aviation spokesman said, adding that it is still unknown what caused the problem.

Rescue helicopters are working at the site, however, heavy rains and thick fog may impede the operations.

Airblue was established in 2004 and operates Airbus A320 and Airbus A321 planes. Apart from destinations in Pakistan, the company flies to Manchester (Britain), Muscat (Oman) and a number of cities in the United Arab Emirates.

The Airbus maker confirmed the crash involved one of its aircraft.

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