A belonging to Pakistan’s Bhoja Air crashed on April 20 while attempting to land in bad weather at an airport near Islamabad. All 118 passengers and nine crewmembers are feared dead, reports quoting senior government officials say.
The aircraft was traveling from Pakistan’s port city of Karachi to the national capital when it crashed, the official said. A violent rain and wind storm was lashing parts of the capital around the same time as the crash, reports say.
The jet went down in farmland just a few kilometers away from Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhar says, adding that there was no immediate word on any survivors.
Eyewitnesses say the aircraft fell on top of houses, toppling many building before hitting the ground.
“Fire erupted after the crash,” reports quoting emergency official Saifur Rehman say. “The wreckage is on fire, the plane is completely destroyed. We have come with teams of firefighters and searchlights and more rescuers are coming.”
A local resident told Geo News that the aircraft was already on fire while still in the air and seemed like “a ball of fire coming at us.”
According to experts, it appeared the aircraft was struck by lightning, which may have caused the crash.
Many bodies were transported to a nearby building.
“Owing to nightfall as well as a heavy overcast, it’s pitch black out there, making rescue work extremely difficult,” a rescuer was quoted as saying.
Reports indicate that Bhoja Airlines purchased the 27-year-old aircraft from Shaheen Airlines.
The Ministry of Defense and Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the crash, but Bhoja Airline officials had yet to comment.