17 die and several of the injured critical as small plane crashes into Rawalpindi’s residential area


A Pakistani military aircraft on a training flight crashed in a built-up area in the city of Rawalpindi, martyred all five crew members and 12 civilians, a statement from the army’s communications wing said on Tuesday.

Another 12 civilians were injured in the crash which set off a fire in the city. Rescue teams were at the scene and extinguished the fire, the statement said.

“A small plane crashed into a residential area,” rescue spokesman Farooq Butt said.

The type of plane was not immediately clear.

In a statement, the military said five soldiers were among those martyred in the plane crash.

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.

Butt said a rescue operation was still ongoing. An AP reporter at scene of the crash saw a burning house and some makeshift homes.

Rescue officials say the plane suddenly lost control with the tower and reason for the incident was not known.

“We have received 17 dead bodies including 12 civilians and five crew members,” said local rescue spokesman Farooq Butt, adding that a further 12 people had been injured in the accident near the capital Islamabad.

One resident told AFP that the crash happened around 2am.

“I woke to the sound of a huge explosion. I stepped out of my house and saw huge flames and we rushed to the site,” said Mohammad Sadiq.

“People were screaming. We tried to help them but the flames were too high and the fire too intense, so we could not do anything. The dead includes seven members of one family and most of them were burned to death.”

Another resident Ghulam Khan said he heard the plane as it buzzed over his house, adding the aircraft appeared to be on fire before it crashed.

“The sound was so scary,” he added. An AFP reporter at the scene said smoke was still rising from the wreckage and destroyed homes, while pieces of the plane were visible on a nearby roof.

Pakistan has a chequered aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.

In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while travelling from remote northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.

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 coming in to land, killing all 152 on board.

Source: Gulf News & AFP


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