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All passengers declared dead in Pakistani plane crash

(Xinhua)

12:39, April 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD, April 21 (Xinhua) -- All passengers and the crew aboard a Pakistani plane that crashed near Islamabad yesterday evening have been declared dead after the rescue teams found the wreckage, the country's Interior Minister said Saturday.

The Boeing aircraft of private Bhoja airlines with 118 passengers and nine crew members crashed minutes before it was to be landed near the Islamabad International Airport apparently due to bad weather.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed all people on board have died and their bodies placed in the Islamabad's main hospital for identification.

Pakistan's aviation authorities and the airlines officials said the plane took off from the port city of Karachi at 5 p.m., and was to land at Islamabad's Benazir International airport at 7 p.m. The pilot lost contact with the control tower at 6:40 p.m., aviation officials said.

A special plane will airlift relatives of those killed in the air crash from Karachi who will be taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences to identify the bodies. All bodies have been kept in boxes. Special counters have been set up to facilitate the relatives.

Officials from National Database and Registration Authority will be present to help in the identification of the bodies. DNA tests are also being carried out for identification as most of the bodies are mutilated and difficult to be identified.

President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered an inquiry into the second worst air crash in Pakistan in less than two years and that the report be submitted to the presidency, presidential spokesman said.

The investigation team will visit the crash site in a couple of hours to formally begin inquiry into the second worst air crash near Islamabad in less than two years. Rescuers said that the wreckage had spread over one kilometer area. The rescuers faced problem in search operations due to non-availability of lights in the crash site.

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