PIA flight PK-661 crash: Five bodies identified at Abbottabad’s Ayub Medical Complex

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ABBOTTABAD (Web Desk) – At least five bodies of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash victims have been identified at Ayub Medical Complex in Abbottabad.

Three affectees belonging to Chitral were identified as Fareed Aziz, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Takbeer while Sami Ullah was from Derea Ghazi Khan and Ahsan Ghaffar was residing in Rawalpindi.

All five corpses were recognized through biometric system while the others will be shifted to Islamabad via helicopter for proper DNA test.

Coffins have been sent to Ayub Medical Complex for the transfer of bodies to their homeland.

Earlier, ATR-42 also known as PK-661 was enroute Islamabad from Chitral on Wednesday evening when it lost communication with air traffic control and crashed some ten kilometers of Havelian.

All 47 persons on board the ill-fated aircraft including five crew members and known religious scholar Junaid Jamshed, his wife along with Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Chitral Osama Warraich have been confirmed dead.

Rescuers, including hundreds of villagers, pulled the charred remains from the wreckage of the aircraft, parts of which were found hundreds of metres away from the main site in Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The plane was still on fire more than five hours after the crash, as rescuers picked up torn human remains with their hands and placed them in bags before they were taken by ambulance to Islamabad for identification.

“The bodies were burnt so badly we could not recognise whether they were women or men,” a villager in his thirties said.

“We put into sacks whatever we could find…and carried them down to the ambulance.

Black box of PK-661 flight recovered

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Azam Saigol, the airline’s chairman said the plane was an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, which contacted ground authorities after one engine failed and issued a Mayday call at 4:14 pm (1114 GMT).

It began descending a minute later before disappearing from radar at 4:46 pm.

“This plane was technically sound, and was checked in October,” he said, adding the captain had flown more than 12,000 hours and the aircraft was nine years old.

“Our focus now is to retrieve all the dead bodies,” he added, vowing a full investigation.

Wednesday’s crash was the fourth deadliest on Pakistani soil.

In May that year a Pakistani military helicopter crashed in a remote northern valley, killing eight people including the Norwegian, Philippine and Indonesian envoys and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian envoys.

In August 2015 another army helicopter crashed killing 12 people, all military.

The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010, when an Airbus 321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad while about to land, killing all 152 on board.

— WIth input from AFP