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Plane crash in Pakistan - all 152 dead

Old 07-28-2010, 06:07 AM
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Default Plane crash in Pakistan - all 152 dead

Plane crash in Pakistan | World news | guardian.co.uk

A domestic passenger flight has crashed near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, killing all 152 people on board in what is thought to be the country's deadliest civil aviation accident.

Police said remains were still being retrieved from the forests of the Margalla hills, where the plane came down shortly before 9am

The wreckage of the aircraft, which had taken off from Karachi earlier in the day, was spread across a wide area. Most of the dead are thought to be Pakistani, while two US citizens were also among the victims.

"There are no survivors. We believe all are dead," Imtiaz Elahi, the chairman of Islamabad's Capital Development Authority, told Reuters. "We are recovering the remains of the dead bodies from the wreckage."

Amir Ali Ahmed, a senior official in the Islamabad administration, said: "We do not expect any survivors. The recovery of bodies is going on right now."

Hafiz Khalid Zaheer, a local resident who had scrambled to the crash site, said he had seen only dead bodies there.

"People's heads and body parts are lying around. You cannot count them [the bodies]," he said. "Luggage is also scattered around the place. Everything is broken."

The Pakistani army has been called in to aid the rescue operation, and military helicopters could be seen hovering over the site of the crash.

A state of emergency has been declared in Islamabad hospitals. Relatives of passengers on the flight have been gathering at Islamabad airport, aseeking information.

"We are gathering information. We have no more details," Mubarik Shah, a spokesman for the state-run Civil Aviation Authority, said.

The Airbus jet, belonging to the private Airblue airline, lost contact with the control room at 8.43am as it flew from Karachi.

Witnesses said the plane appeared to be flying very low over houses in Islamabad, while reports suggested it had been circling the airport in heavy rain, awaiting permission to land.

The top of the hills were covered in cloud at the time, Anjum Rahman, a television reporter and nearby resident, said. "I saw it [the aircraft] pass over my house, and then there was a very loud explosion," she added.

Rescuers trying to reach the Margalla hills, which flank Islamabad to the west, were hampered by rain and difficult roads.

The interior minister, Rehman Malik said the country's prime minister and president had dispatched their personal helicopters for the rescue operation.

Saqlain Altaf, who heard the crash, told ARY he had been on a family outing in the hills when he saw the plane looking unsteady in the air.

"The plane had lost balance, and then we saw it going down," he said.

Pervez George, a civil aviation official, said the cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

"The plane was about to land at the Islamabad airport when it lost contact with the control tower, and later we learned that the plane had crashed," he said.

George said 146 passengers were on the flight, along with six crew members. The plane had been due to land at 9.30am.


Very sad.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:10 AM
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Default Airblue A321 Crash in Islamabad

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- No one survived the crash of a Pakistani passenger plane that went down in the outskirts of the capital Islamabad Wednesday morning with 152 people on board, officials said.


Rescuers worked in heavy rains to recover bodies from the wreckage, as officials launched an investigation to determine why the accident occurred.
Crews combing through the debris have recovered a so-called "black box" -- which is actually orange -- that is either the craft's flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, according to Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Kingdom. Information from the recorder will help authorities determine the cause of the tragedy.


Initially, Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Interior Minister Rehman Malik reported survivors in the crash. Kaira said there were eight survivors and Malik said there were six.



But Kaira said the initial information received from the scene was incorrect, and both men later said no one survived the crash.


The Airblue plane was headed to Islamabad from the sea port city of Karachi when it crashed in a hillside while trying to land, said Pervez George, a spokesman for the country's civil aviation authority.


The Airbus A321 was carrying 146 passengers and six crew members, George said. The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said two of the people aboard were American citizens.


Malik, appearing on Pakistani TV, said the plane was at 2,600 feet as it approached Islamabad but went back up to 3,000 feet before eventually crashing.
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"It came from the city toward the Margalla Hills. It was raining heavily," said area resident Ahsan Mukhtar, who saw the plane go down. "It shattered into pieces as soon as it crashed. A burst of flames came off, but the rain put out the fire."


The Margalla Hills are a series of small hills north of the capital.
Officials do not know if weather played a factor in the crash. Pakistan is in the midst of the annual monsoon season, when rain sweeps across the subcontinent from June until September.
Airblue, a private airline company, offers flights within Pakistan, as well as to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the United Kingdom. It makes a fuel stop in Turkey when it is flying from Manchester, England.
"The aircraft was absolutely airworthy. There was nothing technically wrong," said Taheel Ahmed, a spokesman for the airline.


Airbus issued a statement saying the Airbus A321 was delivered from the production line in 2000, leased to Airblue in 2006, and had accumulated about 34,000 flight hours in some 13,500 flights.



"In line with international convention, Airbus will provide full technical assistance to the authorities of Pakistan, who will be responsible for the investigation into the accident," the company said.


Irshad Kassim, the director of a local bank, flies to Islamabad every week on Airblue and was supposed to have been on the flight -- but changed his mind at the last minute Wednesday morning.


"I know Islamabad has a lot of mountains near the landing area, and there is a lot of lightning in the area," Kassim told CNN. "There was a prediction of heavy rain this morning.


"I was on the flight, booked and confirmed -- and I was going to take the flight. I decided at 6 o' clock to not take the flight because of the weather."


He said he received a call shortly after the plane went down from airline representatives asking if he knew whether a Mr. Kassim was on the flight.
"I told them 'I am so sorry, I did not cancel.' I said, 'Due to the rain, I decided not take this flight,'" Kassim said. "Then I asked 'Why are you asking? Is everything OK?'" It was then that he found out that the plane had gone down.


"I am still numb. I am very numb. I just feel that it's fate, I guess," he said.
"After I looked at the television, I looked at the picture of my three daughters. That's a natural reaction for a father."
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:28 AM
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seeing the large hubs...
 
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Here is the approach plate that I could find - although this image is a 1998 approach plate, there is a new runway, but it is the same orientation. I found the most recent approach plate via my company, but don't think I can post it. It looks almost identical to the one below.

The Margalla Hills that the plane hit are north / northwest / northeast of the airport. You can see from the missed approach, it's a immediate left turn at the end of the runway. MSA to the North is 7700 NW/9500 to the NE.

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