Over 100 bodies recovered so far, rescue workers not hopeful of finding survivors

A private aeroplane with 127 people on board crashed near the federal capital on Friday evening just as it was approaching the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi for landing.

With over 100 bodies recovered five hours after the crash and given the condition of the dead, rescue workers were not hopeful of finding any survivors from among the 121 passengers and six crew members on board.

The aircraft of Bhoja Airways, B4-213, was flying in from Karachi and lost contact with the Air Traffic Control at 6.40 p.m., just five minutes before its scheduled landing time. Eyewitnesses claimed that they heard a blast and saw a massive ball of fire as the aircraft crashed into a farmland near the Chaklala Airbase of the Pakistan Air Force. Debris of the fallen aircraft was strewn over a kilometre area along with mangled bodies of the passengers and their belongings. The flight data recorder (black box) has been recovered. There was no clarity on the cause though technical experts said it could have been caused by the bad weather conditions.

Thunder, lightning

Around the time of the crash, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi were hit by thunder, lightning and a sudden cloud cover that prematurely darkened the skies. With television channels trying to out-pace each other with speculations galore on the possible cause of the crash, Bhoja Airways appealed to the media not to speculate even as the coverage — particularly the “flaunting” of body parts and personal belongings — evoked considerable outrage.

As soon as news broke of the crash, hospitals in the twin cities were put on alert to deal with the emergency. However, with people crowding the crash site and a heavy downpour, mile-long traffic jams were reported on all approach roads; making it difficult for ambulances to reach the spot. Residents of the area could be seen bringing bed sheets from their homes to cover the bodies as the arrival of ambulances was delayed. The Jama'at-ud-Dawa tweeted that they had set up a camp at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad and also sent ambulances to the crash site.

According to Geo News, this Boeing 737 was over 27 years old and was of a make that is no longer being used by the U.S., Europe and Gulf countries.

Keywords: Pak plane crash

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