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No survivors as Pakistani plane carrying 48 crashes in Abbottabad

By Munir Ahmed

Forty-eight people died after a plane belonging to Pakistan's national carrier crashed and burst into flames yesterday.

The small aircraft came down soon after take-off in a village in Abbottabad, 45 miles north-west of Islamabad, while flying from Chitral to the capital.

A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, said the plane, which was carrying 42 passengers, five crew and an engineer, lost contact with the control tower before the crash.

"There is no survivor," an Interior Ministry official added. "All those on board were killed."

Teams were yesterday sent to the area to help identify the victims, among whom was Junaid Jamshed, a famous singer who became an Islamic preacher.

Pakistan International Airlines chairman Azam Sehgal said the plane's pilot told the control tower at 4.09pm his aircraft had developed a technical fault.

Moments later, he made a mayday call, but the plane vanished a short time later.

Mr Sehgal added that since the plane was fit to fly, it was unclear what had happened.

Pervez George, the spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, said experts would determine the cause after recovering the aircraft's black box recorder.

Footage showed debris from the plane and a massive fire at the site of the crash. Forty bodies have been recovered so far.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his "deep grief and sorrow" over the crash. "The nation is deeply saddened and shares the grief of the families who lost their dear ones," he said.

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