Pakistan plane carrying 152 crashes near Islamabad, no survivors reported

A Pakistan plane carrying 152 people crashed near Islamabad, leaving no survivors in what's being called the worst air disaster in Pakistan's history.

By , Correspondent

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    Rescue workers search the site of the crash of an Airblue passenger plane on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan Wednesday.
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In what early reports are calling the worst air crash in Pakistan’s history, a plane carrying 152 passengers has crashed in the Margalla Hills to the north of Islamabad.

Though there were early reports of survivors, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said no survivors have been recovered from the site. Efforts are underway to find the plane's black box to determine the cause of the crash.

The Airblue Flight 202 was on its way from Karachi to Islamabad. Most passengers were Pakistani, though some reports indicate there may have been two Americans onboard. The weather in Islamabad was rainy and foggy. One report indicated the Airbus 321, which left Karachi some two hours earlier, was about to land at Islamabad airport and was asked to circle. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane flying low and wobbly before crashing into the hill.

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“The plane was about to land at the Islamabad airport when it lost contact with the control tower, and later we learned that the plane had crashed,” Pervez George, an official with Pakistan’s civil aviation authority told the Associated Press.

Smoke plumes from the site of the wreckage are still visible from the city as Army rescue helicopters race overhead to the scene.

Pakistani television images showed rescue workers searching for survivors among the twisted wreckage. Though early reports indicate rescue workers and Army troops were on the scene, serious rescue efforts are being hampered because the site cannot be reached by road.

Hamid Zeb Khan, Capital Development Authority's Executive Director who headed one of the rescue teams told the Monitor, "The plane crashed into a very narrow and steep crevice and the rescuers took quite a while to get there. It took 45 minutes or so for them to reach the area."

An Express 24/7 journalist Sabur Ali Sayed reported that the plane’s fuel tank exploded upon impact, causing a fire. According to Civil Aviation Authority officials, five children were on board. The CAA has also promised to launch an investigation into the crash.

Dr. Khan said of the initial reports of survivors, "At this stage my people have found no survivors at all. None of the people handled by my staff are alive."

The last major air crash in Pakistan took place in July 2006, when a Pakistan International Airline Fokker F-27 crashed outside the central Pakistani city of Multan, killing 45 people.

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