- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
Relatives search for bodies at Pakistan air crash
Alabama couple among 152 on board
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Relatives desperate to find the bodies of loved ones joined emergency teams Thursday at the scene of Pakistan’s worst-ever plane crash, but recovery work was badly hampered by thick mud, rain and slippery hillsides.
The Airbus A321 operated by local carrier Airblue crashed into hills overlooking the country’s capital, Islamabad, during stormy, monsoon weather, killing all 152 people on board. Wreckage was strewn over about a third of a square mile section of the forested slopes.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the plane had been ordered to take an alternative approach to the runway, but had veered off course. Finding out why will be a key task of the investigation team, said Riazul Haq, director general of the agency.
“The fact remains it flew where it should not have done,” he said.
Army troops and civilian rescue workers searched a large stretch of the hills scorched by the crash, but the tough conditions slowed the pace of operations. Helicopters could not fly in the heavy rain and low clouds, said a spokesman for the Capital Development Authority, which helps deal with emergencies.
An Associated Press Television News cameraman in the hills saw relatives of passengers working with soldiers and other rescuers at one crash site, where the undercarriage of the jet had come to rest. They collected several body parts in small bags.
Dozens of relatives and friends of those killed slept outside Islamabad’s largest hospital overnight, hoping to receive bodies. They were still there Thursday morning, hugging one another as their tears mixed with the heavy rain, but few corpses were released.
The plane’s “black box” flight data recorders have yet to be recovered. Information extracted from them is needed to determine the cause of the crash. Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and other officials have said the government does not suspect terrorism.
The plane was flying from Karachi, the country’s commercial capital.
Even when the search is completed, it could take days to identify all the victims with DNA testing since most of the bodies were torn apart and burned in the crash, a grim scene described by rescue workers scouring the twisted metal wreckage.
“There is nothing left, just piles and bundles of flesh. There are just some belongings, like two or three traveling bags, some checkbooks, and I saw a picture of a young boy. Otherwise everything is burned,” rescue worker Murtaza Khan said.
The crash was the latest tragedy to jolt a country that has seen thousands of deaths in recent years from al Qaeda and Taliban attacks.
The U.S. Embassy said at least two American citizens were on the plane, an Airbus A321, which was carrying 146 passengers and six crew members.
In the U.S., Paulette Kirksey said her godmother, Rosie Ahmed of Gadsden, Alabama, and her husband, Saleem Ahmed, were among those on the plane. Rosie Ahmed was in Pakistan to arrange for her husband to move to the United States, Ms. Kirksey said. She said Rosie Ahmed was in her late 50s.
The Pakistani government declared Thursday a day of mourning for those lost in the crash.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Dr. Ben Carson disavows efforts at presidential draft
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow