(Note: A full list of passengers on the plane and a phone number where more information can be obtained is available here).
There is little except words of condolence and silent prayers that one can offer to those who have lost their loved ones in the fatal crash of Airblue flight ABQ-202. They will have to live with the loss and the agony forever. Our words will change little, but they are one way to cope with the cold chill that runs down one’s spine as one reads the details of what happened in the skies over Margalla Hills..
In the four plus years we have run this blog, we have had to do too much mourning of Pakistanis dying needlessly.One of the very first times we had to write such a post was of another plane crash – PIA’s Fokker crash in July 2006 that killed 45. Since then it has been needless dying galore of Pakistanis.
The pain gets into the very marrow of the bones of all of us. But it never becomes less painful. You never get used to it. Each time is like a ton of bricks hitting you. Then, something like this happens and it hurts even more. Maybe, because there is no one to lash out against. All you can do is to offer words of condolence and silent prayers to those who have lost their loved ones. You know the words will change nothing, but you hope they will offer some solace in solidarity to the grieved, and maybe some little venting to your own pain.
There were no survivors from the Airblue passenger plane that crashed in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad on Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. “There are no survivors. We believe all are dead. We are recovering the remains of the dead bodies from the wreckage,” Imtiaz Elahi, chairman of Islamabad’s Capital Development Authority told Reuters. Elahi said earlier reports of five survivors from the crash were wrong and that all 152 on board the plane were killed. Meanwhile, the city’s police chief said rescue workers had recovered dead bodies of more than 100 people from the wreckage of the plane. “More than 100 bodies have been found. We have not yet found any survivor or injured,” Bani Amin Khan told AFP. “The search is continuing,” he added. Meanwhile, the plane’s black box was also recovered, the Civil Aviation Authority said.
… “I along with four other police and rescue officials reached the crash site. The debris of the plane was scattered there in raging fire. The plane had struck a ridge which fell on the wreckage,” official Arshad Javed said. “All we could see were charred hands or feet. I collected two heads, two legs and two hands in a bag.” The plane was flying from Karachi to Islamabad and the exact cause of the crash was not immediately clear. The aircraft had lost contact with the control tower during the crash which occurred amid thick fog and heavy rainfall in Islamabad. Guards with the forestry service said they had found some wreckage and seen some bodies, police official Mohammad Saeed said. The army said it was sending special troops to the area to help out along with helicopters.
… One Saqlain Altaf told a private television news channel that he was on a family outing in the hills when he saw the plane, looking unsteady in the air. ”The plane had lost balance, and then we saw it going down,” he said, adding he heard the crash. Thick clouds of smoke were rising from the Margalla Hills. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered authorities to control the fire immediately and rescue passengers. The government declared a day of national mourning and called off a cabinet meeting that was scheduled for today.
… Raheel Ahmed, a spokesman for Airblue, said an investigation would be launched, but that for now the focus was to find survivors. The plane was no more than eight years old, and it had no known technical issues, Ahmed said. He added that to his knowledge, the pilots had not sent any emergency signals. Airblue flies within Pakistan as well as internationally to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the United Kingdom. The only previous recorded accident for Airblue, a carrier that began flying in 2004, was a tailstrike in May 2008 at Quetta airport by one of the airline’s Airbus 321 jets.
… There were no casualties and damage was minimal, according to the US-based Aviation Safety Network.
The airliner began operations in 2004 with a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, the company said on its website. The plane that crashed on Wednesday was also built by Airbus, the European planemaker said. “We regret to confirm there has been an accident with an Airbus aircraft and we will provide more information when we have more confirmed data available,” Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said. According to the latest available data published by Airbus, Airblue operates six aircraft from its A320 family of short-haul and medium-haul aircraft seating up to 185 passengers.