None of the passengers on board a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft that crashed into a mountain in northern Pakistan on Wednesday survived the accident, the airline's chairman said. The airline had earlier announced 48 people were on board the aircraft.
"There are no survivors, no one has survived," Muhammad Azam Saigol told a press conference late on Wednesday, some five hours after flight PK661 from Chitral to the capital, Islamabad, crashed near the town of Havelian, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Saigol said the ATR-42 aircraft had undergone regular maintenance and had in October passed an "A-check" certification, conducted after every 500 hours of flight operations.
"I think that there was no technical error or human error ... obviously there will be a proper investigation," he said.
At the moment 36 bodies a recovered," local television channel Geo TV said, citing the press service of the Pakistani army.
The broadcaster Geo TV reported that 500 servicemen are taking part in the operation. Initial investigations suggest the crash may have been caused by catastrophic engine failure.
The crash occurred at 16:42 local time, according to PIA.
PIA said the ATR aircraft, operating as flight PK661, was powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100 engines.
According to Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network, the aircraft “took off from Chitral around 15:30, for Islamabad.
"At 16:09 the flight changed frequencies from Cherat to Islamabad ATC. At 16:14 the flight radioed that they had an engine problem and that they were descending.
"One minute later a Mayday call was issued. That was the last contact with the aircraft.”
PIA said in a statement that 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer were on board. It said the crash site is near the small village of Saddha Batolni, near Havelian.
ATR said in a statement it “regrets to acknowledge the loss of an ATR 42-500 operated by Pakistan International Airlines.” It said the aircraft is registered under AP-BHO with serial number 663.
Source: agencies, CNS,
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