Authorities have confirmed the crash of a Pakistan International Airlines ATR plane, PK-661, that occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. The flight carried 42 passengers, five crew and a ground engineer that crashed near the town of Havelian in the district of Abbottabad.
Of the 48 people on board the PK-661 flight that departed from Chitral bound for Islamabad, a flight that was to take approximately 80 minutes, a government official at the scene said it is unlikely any survived the crash. Hospital officials where the crash victims’ bodies were taken reported the bodies are badly burned, making identification difficult.
The Pakistan Army has so far retrieved 36 bodies from the crash site in the mountains. All those on board the flight are presumed to be dead. Nine women and two infants were on the flight, Junaid Jamshed, a former singer who became an Islamic preacher, and his wife, and Chitral Deputy Commissioner Osama Warraich. Rescue efforts have been hampered by the terrain and the remoteness of the crash site, in addition to darkness.
Authorities say it is too early so speculate on the cause of the crash. Shortly before the plane went off the radar, the pilot had given a distress call, perhaps the first clue into what went wrong with the aircraft.
“I was working in my shop when I heard the explosion. But it wasn’t until 15 minutes later that we heard a plane had crashed.
“There was a lot of smoke when I got to the location and the wreckage of the plane was on fire. The first body we pulled out was badly burned. It was after that the rescue officials and the army got there. The area is very remote and it was getting quite dark, making rescue efforts very difficult.”
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