No survivors in northern Pakistan air crash, says airline chairman (UPDATE)
22:42 (GMT +4) None of the dozens of people on board a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft that crashed into a mountain in northern Pakistan on Wednesday survived the accident, the airline's chairman said.
"There are no survivors, no one has survived," Muhammad Azam Saigol told a press conference late on Wednesday, about five hours after flight PK661 from Chitral to the capital, Islamabad, crashed near the town of Havelian, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The airline had earlier announced 48 people were on board the aircraft.
Saigol said the ATR-42 aircraft had undergone regular maintenance and had in October passed an "A-check" certification, conducted after every 500 hours of flight operations.
"I think that there was no technical error or human error ... obviously there will be a proper investigation," he said.
21:56 (GMT +4) At least 36 bodies have been recovered after a Pakistan International Airlines plane crash, Sputnik reported.
Earlier in the day, the aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines carrying 47 people departed from the city of Chitral and crashed en route to Islamabad near the city of Havelian after disappearing from radars.
"Rescue operations continue. At the moment 36 bodies are recovered," local television channel Geo TV said, citing the press service of the Pakistani army.
The broadcaster also reported that 500 servicemen are taking part in the operation.
The crash may have been caused by the engine failure.
"PIA flight 661, an ATR carrying over 45 people crashed into a hilly terrain in Pakistan’s North around 16:30. There is no news of any survivors. Pilot’s mayday call said that left engine was on fire and switching off the engine was last heard. ATR with one engine switched off can barely maintain level flight. If the good engine produces less thrust the problem gets amplified. It seems the aircraft kept descending and went into the hill. Unfortunately the pilot could not do anything. The actual cause will be however determined by Investigation Team," Ex Air Force and Aviation Pilot, Group Captain, Khalid Mehmood told Sputnik.
The aircraft was supposed to land in Islamabad at 4:40 p.m. local time (11:40 GMT) but was reported as missing by the airline.
19:59 (GMT +4) Pakistan's army has recovered 21 bodies from the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines plane which crashed in a mountainous northern region Dec. 7, the country’s military said, Reuters reports.
"Rescue effort continues. 21 bodies recovered so far," the military's media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations, said in a short statement.
Witnesses from the crash site in the Havelian area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 125 km north of Islamabad, said there were unlikely to be any survivors.