3 foreigners among 47 aboard crashed Pakistan passenger plane

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-08 03:35

ISLAMABAD -- Three foreigners were among the 47 people on board a domestic plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which crashed in the country's north mountainous area on Wednesday afternoon, local Urdu media reported.

The ill-fated plane was carrying 31 men, nine women, two kids and five crewmembers when it crashed in Havelian town of the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, the ARY News said.

All the three foreigners were men, but their nationalities were not confirmed yet.

Sardar Orangzeb, a lawmaker of KPK assembly said that rescue teams have recovered 23 bodies from the crash site.

Rescue teams from Pakistani army and provincial government are taking part in the rescue operation. Two army helicopters and ambulances from the provincial government are also being used in the operation.

Doctor Asad, director general on rescue works in Havelian, said the domestic plane crashed on hills.

Ambulances are having difficulty reaching the hilly area, and rescue personnels have to walk to the crash site to recover the bodies.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed sorrow over the tragic accident and directed National Disaster Management Authority to mobilize its resources and take part in the rescue operation with the provincial government.

The Civil Aviation Authority has formed an emergency desk at Islamabad airport to provide assistance to the relatives of the passengers of the ill-fated plane.

A state of emergency has been imposed in all the hospitals near the crash site.

The ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661 was heading towards the country's capital Islamabad from north Chitral district when it crashed.

Danial Gilani, the airline spokesperson, said that the plane took off at 3:38 p.m. local time (1038 GMT) and lost contact with control tower at 4:20 p.m. (1120 GMT).

Local media reported that the pilot made a Mayday at the control room and informed about emergency, but shortly after that the plane lost its connection with radar.

Irfan Ilahi, Secretary CAA said that according to initial reports, one of the two engines of the plane met some technical fault, and it caught fire after crashing into the hills.

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