47 perish as PIA plane crashes near Abbottabad

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 7 (APP): Forty-seven persons, including five crew members, perished as a passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flying from Chitral to Islamabad crashed in a hilly area near Abbottabad Wednesday evening.

Prominent among those killed were Deputy Commissioner of Chitral Osama Ahmed Waraich, former singer and religious scholar Junaid Jamshed and his wife, besides three foreigners.

The victims included two infants, 10 females and 30 males.

The flight PK-661 went missing after pilots lost control over the aircraft, a PIA spokesman said.

“We regret to inform that PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661 carrying around 40 on-board passengers lost its contact with control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago,” the spokesman said in the information released to the media at 1707 hours.

PIA’s emergency response centre has been activated, which could be accessed at the phone numbers (021) 99044890, (021) 99044376 and (021) 99044394.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan Army troops and helicopters were moved to the site immediately after the aircraft crash.

The army rescuers and volunteers recovered 40 bodies from the debris of the ill-fated flight.

Dead bodies were evacuated to Hospital Havelian and Ayub Medical Teaching Hospital Abbottabad, contact number (0992) 9310200.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of valuable lives in the crash.

He directed the departments concerned to provide full emergency help and assistance to the family members on the whereabouts of the unfortunate passengers and keep him updated on the evolving situation.

On the directive of the Prime Minister, the authorities concerned took necessary steps to transport and recognize the unfortunate bodies of passengers and crew.

These steps included: National Emergency Operation Centre was activated for coordination and any assistance from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Phone No (051) 9205037.

The NDMA had advised PDMA and district administration to transport all dead bodies to a single hospital for recognition and further transportation.

Ministry of Interior placed its helicopters on the disposal of NDMA to transport dead bodies.

Meanwhile, the search operation by police and army troops was in progress.

The NADRA Chairman was asked to send mobile biometric teams for recognising the passengers.

The district administration through PDMA, and NADRA Chairman activated mobile biometric team to identify bodies.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government established six information centers at various locations in the province.

The information centers include Deputy Commissioner Abbotabad Phone No (0992) 9310200 and (0992) 9310201, Deputy Commissioner Haripur Phone No (0995) 613391, District Police Officer Chitral Phone No (0943) 412077 and (0943) 412505, Deputy Commissioner Chitral Phone No (0943) 412055 and (0943) 412519, PIA Chitral Phone No (0493) 412547 and (0943) 412863 and PIA Peshawar Phone No (091) 9212567.

President Mamnoon Hussain also expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives.