Passenger plane crashes in hills near Pakistan capital

09:52, 28 July 2010
784 0

Police said it was...

 A plane has crashed in hills north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, according to BBC.

Police said it was an Airblue flight to Islamabad from Karachi, with more than 150 people on board.

It crashed in the Margalla Hills to the north of the city, and Pakistani television showed images of smoke and flames on a foggy hillside, with helicopters flying overhead.

A huge rescue effort has been launched. Officials said five bodies had been recovered.

The plane, with an estimated 152 people on board, is thought to have left Karachi at 0750 (0350 GMT), and officials said it lost contact with the control tower minutes before landing.

Witness Khadim Hussain told the Reuters news agency: "It was raining. I saw the plane flying very low from the window of my office."

Saqlain Altaf told Pakistan`s ARY news channel that he was 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, adding that he heard the crash.

Officials said forestry guards in the Margalla Hills searching for survivors had seen five bodies.

Mohammed Usman, an official at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, said dozens of relatives of passengers gathered there were crying and desperate to get information about their loved ones.

The skies in Islamabad have been heavily overcast in the past couple of days.

Initial reports said the flight originated in Turkey, but this has not been confirmed. Later reports suggested it was a commuter flight.

If you see a spelling error on our site, select it and press Ctrl+Enter