Plane with 47 people on board crashes in north Pakistan; survivors unlikely

By Reuters/Asad Hashim, Jibran Ahmad   December 7, 2016 | 08:40 pm GMT+7
Plane with 47 people on board crashes in north Pakistan; survivors unlikely
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane arrives at the Benazir International airport in Islamabad, Pakistan December 2, 2015. Photo by Reuters/Faisal Mahmood/File Photo

"All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered."

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane with about 47 people on board crashed in the mountainous north of the country on Wednesday, police and the civil aviation authority said.

PIA said a plane bound for the capital, Islamabad, from the northern town of Chitral lost contact with the control tower en route.

The aircraft was carrying "around 40 people", the airline said in a statement, but the civil aviation authority said 47 people were on board. 

There are unlikely to be any survivors from the Pakistan International Airlines plane, a government official on the scene said.

"All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered," Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told Reuters.

Khan, who was at the site of the crash, added that witnesses told him "the aircraft has crashed in a mountainous area, and before it hit the ground it was on fire".

Laiq Shah, a senior police official in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the plane had crashed in the province's Havelian area.

"Rescue teams are reaching the scene of the crash, and then we will know more," Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George told Reuters.

Geo News and Dawn News TV stations, citing civil aviation sources, said the plane lost contact with civil aviation authority at around 4:30 p.m. (1130 GMT).

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