Authorities said a passenger plane has crashed near the Pakistani capital, and all 127 people on board are feared dead.
Aviation authorities said the crash occurred just a few kilometers away from Islamabad’s International airport.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was coming from the southern port city of Karachi and went down as it was preparing to land in bad weather. Civilian and military rescue teams are at the scene to try to retrieve the victims but so far there have been no reports of any survivors.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, while speaking to state-run television, described the incident as a national tragedy.
The minister said that the passenger plane was seen in flames as it emerged from cloud cover and crashed shortly afterwards not far from the capital city’s main highway.
State media said all hospitals in and around Islamabad have been put on high alert.
The aircraft was operated by local carrier Bhoja Air and it was on its maiden flight to the Pakistani capital from Karachi.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered an investigation into the fatal accident.
In July 2010, a passenger plane belonging to private airline Airblue crashed in the mountains near Islamabad, killing all 152 people onboard. It was the deadliest plane crash in the country’s history.
Major Pakistani Air Crashes
March, 1953: First known commercial passenger airplane crash in Pakistan; 11 killed
November, 1979: PIA Boeing 707 bringing home Hajj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia crashes after take-off from Jeddah; 156 killed
September, 1992: PIA Airbus A300 crashes on approach to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu; 167 killed
July, 2010: Airblue Airbus 321 flying from Karachi crashes outside Islamabad; all 152 people on board killed
April, 2012: Bhoja Air Airbus 737 from Karachi to Islamabad comes down in bad weather; More than 100 killed
Article by Ayaz Gul, VOA News