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Debris of ill-fated PIA aircraft located; popular evangelist among 47 feared dead

An Islamabad-bound Pakistan international Airlines carrying 42 passengers and five crew members crashed near Havelian in Abbottabad on Wednesday, The Express Tribune reported quoting ISPR, Pakistan military's public relations wing.

According to a Geo TV  report popular singer-turned-Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed, along with his family was on the ill-fated flight. The news has been confirmed by the singer's brother.

The 42 passengers included nine women and two infants, while the five crew members included three pilots and two air hostesses.

Dunya News reports that three among those feared dead were foreigners.

"The debris of the plane has been found. So far there is no indication of anyone's survival," PTI quoted an Pakistani official as saying.  Though officially there was no information on the cause of the crash, Aviation Herald, that reports daily about incidents and critical situations in civil aviation, said the plane had "engine problems". The daily citing local government sources said chances to find survivors are "bleak".

"A plane has crashed and locals told us that it is on fire," Geo TV quoted a Pakistani police official as saying.

The PIA flight PK-661 took off from Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 3.30 pm and was expected to land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad at 4.40 pm, The Dawn reported.

The Express Tribune further quoted ISPR as saying that army helicopters have been sent to the crash site for rescue efforts.

Abid Ali, a senior official of the national disaster and management cell, said rescue work had already started at the crash site and six helicopters were being used in the operation but it would take time to recover the debris and any bodies as the crash took place in a mountainous region.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed all authorities "to immediately reach the site and start rescue and relief operations", a statement said.

The national carrier has confirmed the reports that the national carrier lost contact with the air traffic control in Wednesday afternoon, The Independent reported.

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf chief Imran Khan took to Twitter to express his condolences.

Quoting the PIA, Geo TV said emergency response center has been activated and can be accessed at following phone numbers for updates:

0092-21-99044890, 0092-21-99044376, and 0092-21-99044394

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2016 19:48:41 IST