An ATR-42 aircraft operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) crashed into the mountains near Abbottabad (located in northeastern Pakistan) on Wednesday (7th December), killing all 47 people on board including 2 infants.
According to PIA chairman Muhammad Azam Saigol, domestic flight PK661 from the city of Chitral to the capital Islamabad went down with 42 passengers and 5 crew members on board. It was reported that 500,000 rupees (approximately RM21,000) cash will be given to the victims’ families to meet funeral expenses.
Saigol also added that one of the pilots made an distress call, saying he had lost control of one of the 2 engines. Pakistan’s military has confirmed that searchers have recovered the black box from the plane, but the cause of the crash remains unclear.
“We were confident that the plane could land with one working engine. This is a tragedy. We are not absolving ourselves of any connection to this incident,” said the PIA chairman.
PIA crashed Video . pic.twitter.com/m26Gs5Rzz3
— WAHEED AFSAR (@AfsarLgu) December 8, 2016
3 foreigners were believe to have been on the aircraft. Austria’s foreign ministry confirmed 2 of its nationals were killed while the Chinese state media said that one of its citizens was also aboard. Also among the victims are Pakistani legendary pop star-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed and his wife.
Jamshed rose to fame in the 1980s through Vital Signs, one of the most iconic pop bands in Pakistan. A few days before his tragic death, he posted touristy pictures of Chitral on Twitter, describing the picturesque valley as “heaven on Earth”.
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
The crash is the first major airliner accident in Pakistan since Bhoja Air flight BHO213 (Boeing 737-200) crashed in bad weather while on approach to Islamabad in April 2012.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were affected by the devastating crash ?