Pakistani Army aircraft crashes in Rawalpindi killing 19 including two pilots, 20 injured; officials say toll likely to rise

Rawalpindi: A small Pakistani military plane crashed into a residential area near Rabi Plaza, Rawalpindi before dawn on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people, including two pilots and three crew members, officials said. The injured were shifted to Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi.

 Pakistani Army aircraft crashes in Rawalpindi killing 19 including two pilots, 20 injured; officials say toll likely to rise

Army officials examine the site of a plane crash in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. AP

Fires, damaged homes, and debris were visible in Mora Kalu village on the outskirts of Rawalpindi after daybreak. Troops and police cordoned off the residential area to search for plane debris and investigative evidence after the rescue efforts had ended.

At least four to five houses were engulfed by fire after the plane crash. In a statement, the military said five soldiers were among those killed in the plane crash. Rescue officials said the death toll could rise further since there are injured in critical condition.

The military gave no details about the cause of the crash and only said an army aviation aircraft was on a routine training flight when the plane went down in the village of Mora Kalu on outskirts of Rawalpindi. TV footage showed fire erupting in the residential area.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that rescue teams of the Pakistan Army and Rescue 1122 had reached the site of the incident and a fire had been extinguished.

Farooq Butt, an official at the state-run emergency service called 1122, said at least 19 people, including soldiers, died in the crash and that authorities had declared an emergency in hospitals. He said about 20 people were injured in the plane crash.

"We have shifted all the bodies and injured persons to hospitals," he told The Associated Press. "Most of the victims received burn injuries and children are among the dead." Butt said a rescue operation was still ongoing.

According to Dawnthe crew members and two pilots killed in the incident were Lieutenant Colonel Saqib (pilot), Lieutenant Colonel Waseem (pilot), Naib Subedar Afzal, Havaldar Ibne Ameen, and Havaldar Rehmat.

"My sister, her husband and their three children were killed when the plane crashed into their home," said Mohammad Mustafa, as he sobbed near his sister's badly damaged home. He said rescuers and troops quickly reached the area after the crash.

Residents say they woke up when they heard an explosion and saw the debris of a burning plane near their homes. Army helicopters were seen hovering over the crash site later.

Abdul Rehman, a medical doctor, said at least three homes were badly damaged and the pilots' bodies had been retrieved. The military said the army aircraft was on a routine training flight when it crashed, but had no information on the possible cause.

With inputs from agencies.

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2019 13:34:11 IST