ISLAMABAD, (Reuters) – A Pakistani airliner with up to 131 people on board crashed in bad weather as it came in to land in Islamabad on Friday, scattering wreckage and leaving no sign of survivors.
The civilian plane, flying from Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub Karachi to the capital Islamabad, crashed about five nautical miles (nine km) from the international airport, said aviation official, Pervez George.
He gave no details of casualties.
But body parts lay among wreckage strewn in a small settlement just outside Islamabad. Local residents said they had seen a ball of fire in the sky when the plane crashed.
A man who had been at waiting at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport for the flight yelled “my two daughters are dead” as tears streamed down his face.
In a state of shock, he then slumped in a state of shock on the floor and sat silently as other relatives of passengers crowded around lists of those on board.
Among them was Zarina Bibi, desperate to determine whether her husband was on the Bhoja Air flight. “He called me before leaving Karachi but I don’t know if he was on this flight or not,” said Bibi, whose eyes were red from crying.
There were conflicting reports of the number of people on board. Aviation official George put the number at 131, but another official said there had been 122 people aboard.
The aircraft was operated by local carrier Bhoja Air. The airline’s spokesman, Jaser Abro, said 116 passengers were on board and up to six crew.
State television reported that all hospitals in Islamabad and the nearby city of Rawalpindi had been put on high alert after the crash.
The last major aviation accident in Pakistan was in July 2010, when a commercial airliner operated by AirBlue with 152 people on board crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad.
In 2006, a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashed near the central city of Multan, killing 45 people.