A Pakistan International Airlines plane with 48 people on board, including a famous former pop singer, crashed near Abbottabad in northern Pakistan on Wednesday, government officials and the airline said.
The flight, PK 661, was traveling from Chitral, a northern tourist destination near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, to Islamabad, the capital, when it crashed, said Saeed Wazir, the deputy inspector general of police in Abbottabad District.
“It is a hilly area,” Mr. Wazir said. “The police are on their way.”
“But what locals from the crash scene are telling us, the passengers are all burned,” he said. “Smoke and fire are billowing from the debris. No one can go near it. People are helpless.”
Pakistani International Airlines, the national carrier, released a statement saying that 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer were on board the aircraft, an ATR 42 twin turboprop plane. The statement said the plane went down near the city of Havelian, in Abbottabad District.
“Rescue efforts are underway, and we are also ascertaining the extent of damage to life to those on board the aircraft,” the statement read.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. But the Civil Aviation Authority said that the plane lost radio contact with the air traffic control tower in Islamabad shortly before the crash.
The passengers included Junaid Jamshed, a popular recording artist who later turned to Islamic proselytizing. Mr. Jamshed was a heartthrob in his youth, performing lead vocals in the band Vital Signs, known for its brooding, romantic, catchy ballads.
The band’s first pop music album, released in 1989, took the country by storm: The song “Dil Dil Pakistan” has become a sort of unofficial national anthem.
After the band broke up in the mid-1990s, Mr. Jamshed turned to Islamic preaching and became a televangelist. Although he had stopped singing, he began reciting Na’at, a type of poetry that praises the Prophet Muhammad, and also started a successful retail clothing business. Local news outlets reported Mr. Jamshed’s wife was also on the plane.
A senior government official in Peshawar said that three foreigners, including an Australian, a Chinese and a Korean, were among the passengers.
Courtesy of: nytimes