Air Blue airliner crashes in Margalla hills with 152 people onboard, over 100 bodies recovered
Over 100 bodies have so far been recoved after hectic rescue operation hours after the Air Blue Airliner crashed Wednesday morning (28th July 2010) over Margalla hills. Rescue work is underway but in difficult situation due to heavy rain and clouds. The government has announced one day mourning at national level. The prime minister along with chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, interior minister Rahman Malik, defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar and other have had an aerial view of the scene.
One hundred and forty-six people including 139 adults, five kids and five crewmembers were onboard whereas 12 are those lucky people who missed the flight.
Teams from federal, provincial and military rescue are taking part in the operation. Most of the rescue workers and some volunteers reached on foot. Military and civil aviation and government helicopters are rescuing bodies and injured.
The police cordoned off the roads leading to the incident. However, a large number of people are rushing to the scene while traveling on foot to the mountainous terrain.
“There was no technical fault when the airliner crashed as it was okay when allowed to fly from Karachi,” said a spokesperson of Air Blue saying that investigations are underway. “We should not speculate before any concrete evidence is found,” he added. Reports say that the airliner flew from Karachi at 7:50am and its contact with the control tower lost at 9:22 am minutes before its landing at Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad. According to reports, the airliners was not allowed to land when it first reached the landing point and it again flew low from the landing point to roam around Islamabad while waiting for permission to land. This is the routine practice when there is traffic congestion on the airport or weather is bad, then the airliners continue to fly in Islamabad territory and when they are allowed, then they land again.
Conflicting reports say that the airliner was diverted to Lahore airport but while it was in the air flying low hit the nearby Margala hills and crashed in hills.
The relatives of the ill-fated passengers are in panic and they are waiting for more information about their loves ones. “We want that we should be taken to the scene so that we can see our relatives,” said brother of a victim.
Reports say a woman informed by phone that she is under rubble and need to be rescued. However, the rescue work is very difficult due to difficult terrain and there is no road towards the scene.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered inquiry report from defence ministry.