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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan plane crash kills 152: Interior Minister

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 29, IRNA -- Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik says all 152 passengers and crew members on board a private airlines flight were killed in air crash near Islamabad Wednesday.

“Nobody is survived,” Malik told reporters.

The airbus of private Airblue airlines, which was coming to Islamabad from the port city of Karachi, hit the Margalla Hills at 9:30 a.m., officials said. The Margalla Hills—the foothills of the Himalayas—are a series of small-elevation hills located north of Islamabad.

A statement from the Airblue said that its passengers flight ED 202 ?crashed during poor weather and thick fog’.

Chief of Pakistan’s International Airlines Ijaz Haroon said that preliminary investigation suggest that pilot error may have caused the crash.

An Airblue official said that 146 passengers, and six crew members were on board of the plane. The passengers included 139 adults, five children and two infants, he added.

“We regret the loss of life and are investigating the exact circumstances of this tragedy. This will be presented as soon as possible,” the Airblue statement said on its website.

“Airblue, with great sadness, announces the loss of flight ED 202 inbound from Karachi to Islamabad,” the airlines said.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew,” the statement said.

The Airblue Operations official, W. Hameed Mirza told reporters that 152 passengers and crew members were on board of the plane.

Chairman Capital Development Authority Enayat Elahi said that 40 bodies have been recovered from the crash site atop the hills.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani took aerial view of the crashed site of aeroplane and observed that the access to the accident site was quite difficult thus hampering the rescue operation, the PM office said.

The Prime Minister expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the unfortunate accident and issued instructions to concerned organizations for holding a high level inquiry to determine the cause of the tragedy.

Officials say that there is no hope of any survivor and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who earlier said that five people were survived, withdrew his earlier statement.

The Prime Minister announced one-day mourning over the deaths in the air crash.

“The Federal Cabinet declared one day national mourning because of this tragic incident,” a statement from the Prime Minister office said.

The plane had left Karachi at 7:50 a.m., and was scheduled to land at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport around 9:30 a.m.

The army’s information department said that three army helicopters were immediately flown to the Margalla hills where very low visibility posed a real challenge to rescue victims of the crash. A group army troops also moved towards the scene to pluck the bodies and retrieve victims of the crash, it said.

Officials said some 12 passengers, who had confirmed seats, could not travel in the plane.

Interior Minister Rehman Mailk said the aviation authorities had not received any SOS message from the pilots before the incident and that search for black box is underway to determine the cause of the crash.

The Civil Aviation Authority ordered inquiry into the crash. The 5-member inquiry board will be headed by Air Commodore, Abdul Majid Khawaja, Chairman Aviation Safety Investigation Board.

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