Investigation team to visit PIA crash site where all 47 passengers were killed

ISLAMABAD: An investigation team will the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) crash site today.

The team led by Air Commodore Munir Butt will collect evidence from the crash site, source said. The team will also meet eye witnesses.

A PIA plane carrying 47 people crashed Wednesday on a domestic flight from the mountainous northern city of Chitral to Islamabad, killing all persons on board.

PIA aircraft was fit to fly: Chairman

PIA Chairman Azam Saigol while confirming there were no survivors of the tragic plane crash said the aircraft was ‘fit to fly’.

Speaking at a news conference here, Azam Saigol said the PIA has 11 ATR aircraft in its fleet and they all have been ‘reliable’.

“The plane which crashed on Wednesday was A-checked in October,” he said in response to rumours about technical issues with the aircraft, adding that this certification is conducted after every 500 hours of flying.

“There is no room of human error regarding fitness certification of the plane, however, the incident will be probed thoroughly,” the PIA chairman assured, hinting at assistance by international agencies in the investigations.

Saigol said “it was our plane and our passengers”, yet contending the air travel was still the safest means of transportation. “We will ascertain the causes of the crash and will inform you,” he told anxious newsmen.

“This, however, should not be expected from the PIA that it would fly unfit jets,” he added.

According to a spokesperson for the Commissioner’s office in Hazara Division, 42 bodies have been recovered from the plane’s wreckage, which had scattered over several kilometres. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said around 500 army personnel were taking part in the operation to recover the bodies. Witnesses on the crash site earlier said there were unlikely to be any survivors.

According to Civil Aviation Authority officials, the ATR-42 turboprop plane with 47 passengers went missing from the radar near the town of Havelian in Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province while it was on its way to Islamabad. The ill-fated plane crashed at around 4:42 pm PST.

Bodies shifted to Ayub Medical Centre

47 bodies were shifted to Ayub Medical Centre in Abbottabad from the site of the incident.

Deputy Director Services Ayub Medical Centre Muhammad Junaid confirmed that all bodies had been examined up till now and among them, five were identified.

The identified were: Ahsan Ghaffar of Gojar Khan, Sami Ullah of DG Khan and Farhad Aziz, Takbir Khan and Nawaz Khan of Chitral.

DNA Examination

Spokesperson Aviation Division Sher Ali Khan informed that the bodies would be shifted to the hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad through helicopters for DNA examination early Thursday morning, and after the requisite tests the families would be allowed to take the bodies for burial.

The plane took off from Chitral around 3:50PM and PIA said the plane crashed at 1642 local time (1142 GMT) in the Havelian area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 125 km north of Islamabad.

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