Victims of the airline crash near Islamabad that killed all 127 people on board were buried here on Sunday, as investigators probed the causes of the fatal incident.
The Bhoja Air flight from Karachi came down in fields near a village on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital on Friday evening, in the city’s second major fatal air crash in less than two years.
Thirteen of those killed were buried late Saturday in Islamabad and funerals for 36 other victims were held in Karachi and other cities early Sunday, with more ceremonies expected in different cities throughout the day.
Television broadcasts showed footage of distraught relatives, weeping and hugging each other, as the dozens of coffins left Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital where the remains had been taken.
Some nine dead bodies have not yet been identified and will undergo DNA tests, a hospital official said.
An AFP reporter who visited the hospital late Saturday said some of the remains still at the hospital were no more than body parts, stored on stretchers and covered by white sheets.
The disaster is the city’s second major plane crash in less than two years — an Airblue plane came down in bad weather in July 2010, killing 152 — and victims’ families have voiced fury at the authorities.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general Nadeem Khan Yusufzai said the plane suddenly dropped from 2,900 feet to 2,000 feet as it made its final approach to land, and vanished from the airport radar.
He said another plane from the private Airblue airline landed safely from the same approach about 10 minutes afterwards and there was no indication from the Bhoja pilot that he was in distress.
The flight data recorder has been recovered and will be sent abroad for analysis, and the overall investigation could take up to a year to complete its work, he told reporters Saturday,
Interior minister Rehman Malik said a committee had been set up to investigate the crash and the head of the airline Farooq Bhoja had been put on an “exit control list”, banning him from leaving Pakistan.
All 127 people on board — 121 passengers and six crew — were killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames at around 6:40 pm on Friday. There were 11 children among the dead.
The crash came less than two years after the worst ever air disaster on Pakistani soil.
In July 2010 an Airbus A321 operated by Airblue crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad while coming in to land in heavy rain and poor visibility, killing all 152 people on board.
Friday’s flight was Bhoja’s first evening trip from Karachi to Islamabad since resuming operations last month after a 12-year suspension for not paying Civil Aviation Authority dues. AFP