A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Jet heading to Islamabad from Chitral has crashed in a hilly area near Havelian, Abbottabad, carrying 42 passengers and 5 crew members, Civil Aviation Authority confirmed. Witnesses on the crash site have said that there are unlikely to be any survivors.
PIA’s PK-661 was scheduled to reach Islamabad but it lost its contact with Control Tower. Captain Saleh Hayat was operating the flight and moments before the plane disappeared, Captain Saleh Hayat confirmed the mayday situation due to engine failure.
Famous singer-turned-Islamic-preacher Junaid Jamshed along with his wife is believed to be feared dead in the incident. The renowned singer’s brother confirmed for the first time that Junaid Jamshed was also in the flight that crashed into hilly area near Havelian.
Junaid Jamshed’s friend Muhammad Ayub said that he dropped off the religious scholar at the Chitral Airport around 3:00 PM. Junaid Jamshed was in Chitral for his religious preaching-related work and was staying in local mosque. He also tweeted about his tour on 4th Dec, which proved to be his last tweet.
Heaven on Earth Chitral.
With my friends in the Path of Allah . Snowpacked Tirchmir right behind us pic.twitter.com/ZajcWEKlrG
— Junaid Jamshed (@JunaidJamshedPK) December 4, 2016
PIA has activated its Emergency Response Centre and can be accessed at following numbers; 0092-21-99044890, 0092-21-99044376 & 0092-21-99044394.
As per latest statement of ISPR, 36 dead bodies have been recovered from the crash site and plane’s wreckage which has scattered over an area of several kilometers. Rescue efforts are yet continued and dead bodies are being transferred to Hospital Havelian and Ayub Medical College Tehsil Havelian, ISPR said.
The ill-fated flight PK-661 took off from Chitral around 3:00 PM and communication with the Control Tower got broken around 4:30 PM, a little shortly before it was about to arrive at its destination.
PIA Public Affairs Division in a an official statement said; “We regret to inform that PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago. All resources are being mobilized to locate the aircraft. Media will be kept informed as situation develops.”
Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in Havelian region has said that all bodies are burned beyond recognition and there are unlikely to be any survivor. Taj Muhammad Khan who was at the site of crash added that the witnesses have told that the aircraft was on fire before it hit the ground.
Following the crash of PK-661 and martyrdom of famous religious scholar and then-singer Junaid Jamshed, people across different walks of lives are in deep sorrow and expressing their grieves via social media.
Saddened by the death of Junaid Jamshed in the Havelian plane crash.Great loss for the nation.May Allah give him an elevated place in Jannah
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) December 7, 2016
My heart goes out to ththe families of those on board the PIA flight. I am praying that rescuers get some survivors. Mercy Almighty!!!
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) December 7, 2016
— Obaid Rehman (@obaidrehman1990) December 7, 2016
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the crash. Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan also directed FIA and NADRA teams to rush to the crash site, identify dead bodies to help in initial investigations.
Shocked & saddened by the tragic PIA plane crash near HavelIan. May Allah give the families of the deceased courage to bear their loss.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 7, 2016
Chairman PTI Imran Khan & Chairman PPP Bilawal Zardari have also expressed their thoughts on the crash incident and prayed for families of deceased.