Islamabad: In one of the deadliest air disasters, 48 people including pop-singer and Islamic evangelist Junaid Jamshed, were killed when an ATR-42 aircraft belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines crashed in mountains of Abbotabbad.
The fight PK661 started from mountain resort of Chitral in the Hindu Kush range, and crashed near the town of Havelian in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, about 50 kilometers short of the international airport in Islamabad.
All the bodies of the passengers are said to be completely charred. The rough terrain of the crash location, without any road access, and extreme cold weather delayed the rescue team.
The pilot had send out a distress signal to the ATC, just before the crash happened. Airlines chairman, Muhammad Azam Saigol said that the aircraft had undergone regular maintenance and was awarded an “A-check” certification in October. Initial reports suggest that the plane suffered a failure in one of its two engines immediately prior to the crash.
Junaid Jamshed, killed in this crash, was a vocalist for a very successful 90s pop-music band named Vital Signs, before joining the Tableeghi Jamaat and becoming a preacher. There were also 3 foreigners – 2 Australians and a Chinese man – who perished in the crash. Former Pakistani cricket captain Saeed Anwar and his relative are said to have had a narrow escape as they too were scheduled to fly in that plane but did not board the flight.
The Dawn newspaper said that the dead also included a member of the Chitral royal family and his wife and child, apart from a regional administrative official, Osama Ahmad Warraich, along with his wife and infant daughter.