A Pakistan International Airlines flight carrying more than 40 people crashed soon after takeoff on Wednesday while en route to Islamabad from the northern city of Chitral, a spokesman and police officials said. According to senior police officer Khurram Rasheed, the plane crashed in a village near the town of Havelian, located about 45 miles northwest from the Pakistani capital. It was not immediately clear what may have caused the crash. A local police official, Khursheed Tanoli, told state-run Pakistan Television that the plane went down in a village in the northwest and that rescuers were trying to reach the site of the crash. The army reportedly sent troops and helicopters to the crash site. Shortly before the crash was confirmed, airlines spokesperson Daniyal Gilani said the ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661 carrying around 40 passengers and crew lost touch Wednesday with the control tower. State-run Pakistan Television showed a huge fire rising from the site of the crash. Villagers were seen standing near the site. Taj Muhammad Kahn, a local government official who as at the site of the crash, said it was unlikely there were any survivors from the crash. “All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered,” he told Reuters, adding that the plane crashed in a mountainous area and was on fire before it hit the ground. A Pakistan International Airlines ATR-42 aircraft, similar to the one which crashed There were no immediate details on casualties but Pakistan’s interior ministry dispatched a team with experts on identifying bodies through DNA tests.

The flight departed from Chitral around 3:30 p.m. local time and was expected to land at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport at around 4:40 p.m. local time.

Pakistani media and residents gather at Benazir Bhutto International Airport after the crash

Pakistani media and residents gather at Benazir Bhutto International Airport after the crash

A Muslim cleric who had rocketed to fame as a Pakistani pop star was one of the passengers, according to an official. The cleric, Junaid Jamshed, had released a string of chart-topping albums as a solo artist and a member of the group Vital Signs during the 1980s and 1990s. Airline official Sohail Ahmed told Reuters Jamshed was on the flight.

Courtesy : Foxnews