Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Crash bodies brought in 100 bags

21 April 2012, 12:24

Islamabad - Distraught relatives wept on Saturday as they collected the remains of loved ones after a Pakistani passenger jet crashed in bad weather near Islamabad, killing all 127 people on board.

The Bhoja Air flight from Karachi came down in fields near a village on the outskirts of capital Islamabad at around 18:40 on Friday evening - the city's second major fatal air crash in less than two years.

The airline said the Boeing 737 was carrying 121 passengers, including 11 children, as well as six crew.

Civil aviation official Junaid Khan told AFP: "All 127 people died. No one survived. There was no possibility of any survivor in this crash."

Doctor Waseem Khawaja, who is in charge of Islamabad's main hospital, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), said bodies had been brought in more than 100 bags.

Most have been identified

"There was no survivor, all on board are dead," he told AFP.

The doctor said that despite the fire, most of the bodies were not charred and 73 had been identified already, with 53 handed over to relatives.

Rows of coffins, some sprinkled with rose petals by hospital staff as a gesture of compassion, were lined up in a room with handwritten notes identifying the dead by name, TV images showed.

Police officers and soldiers at the hospital consoled the relatives as many, overwhelmed with emotion, wept uncontrollably on receiving the coffins.

The Boeing 737-200 was 28 years old, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official who asked not to be named told AFP, but Bhoja Air insisted that despite its age, the plane was safe to fly.

Old aircraft

"The aircraft was old and second-hand but it is not something unusual. The fleet of state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also runs old aircraft," Bhoja Air official Masham Zafar told AFP.

"Airlines rarely have brand new planes, and this aircraft was also refurbished."

She said there was no technical problem with the plane and added that the plane left Karachi with CAA approval and was given clearance to land at Islamabad.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, visiting the hospital, told reporters a judicial commission would investigate the crash, which came less than two years after the worst ever air disaster on Pakistani soil.

In July 2010 an Airbus A321 operated by the private airline Airblue crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad while coming in to land in heavy rain and poor visibility, killing all 152 people on board.

Technical assistance

Boeing offered "profound condolences" to the victims' families and said it would provide technical assistance to the investigation into the Bhoja crash.

Debris from the crash was scattered over a two-kilometre area, with torn fragments of the fuselage, including a large section bearing the Bhoja Air logo, littering the fields around the village of Hussain Abad.

Military and aviation officials said bad weather was probably behind the crash, as there was a hail and thunderstorm over the city at the time.

A senior PIA engineer told AFP the age of the aircraft mattered less than its flying hours, and said he thought an air pocket - a patch of low air pressure - could be to blame.

"Since it was approaching the airport to land it was obviously flying low - between 3 000 and 4 000 feet above the ground," he said.

Pilot lost control

"Visibility was also low because it was raining and there was thunder and lightning. The pilot lost control and apparently failed to lift it out of the air pocket."

Bhoja Air began domestic operations after Pakistan opened up its skies to private companies in the 1990s and ran international flights as far afield as the United Arab Emirates, before having its licence suspended in 2000 after failing to pay dues to CAA.

It relaunched domestic operations in March, and Friday was its first evening flight from Karachi to Islamabad.

The deadliest civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet came in 1992 when a PIA Airbus A300 crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on its approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, killing 167 people.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...