It is reported that a bhoja airline passenger airplane, flight B4-213, crashed at Hussainabad village, near the Islamabad Rawalpindi expressway. The site is close to the Chaklala air base. The Boeing 737 had 127 passengers on board, who are all feared death at this point. The plane took off from Karachi’s Jinnah airport at 5:00 PM PST and was supposed to land at the Islamabad airport at 6:50 PM, but crashed minutes before it was about to land. The plane reportedly fell on top of houses in the village and toppled many houses before coming to a halt.
The plane was more than twenty seven year old, Bhoja air purchased this plane from Shaheen air (another private airline) after it was considered scrap by the latter. However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) passed this plane, and claimed it was in good condition and allowed it to make this ill fated flight. A similar fate was met by a Shaheen Airline aircraft in July 2010, which crashed in Margalla Hills. This was one of the deadliest crashes in the Pakistani aviation history. All 152 passengers, including crew died in the crash. There was a lot of hue and cry even at the time of that crash. For a long time investigations were done, and after months of probing the captain of the flight was to blame.
Right after the news hit the media, every channel has started the race to give exclusive news after every 15 or twenty minutes. What was interesting to see is that Bhoja air’s office has been abandoned and locked away. So far no officials or senior spokesperson from the airline have come forward. There has been news about a Bhoja air flight arriving on Karachi airport from Lahore which would take relatives of the passengers to Islamabad to identify and receive the dead bodies.
The black box of the plane has been found. The city of Islamabad was receiving heavy rainfall and a thunderstorm when the crash happened. Several flights had already been diverted to Lahore earlier. Eye witnesses claim that the plain had already caught fire while it was in air. Some officials have said there is a possibility that the plane got hit by thunder, and caught fire which made the captain lose control. Then as it came down the fire got worse. The torn fragments and remains of the plane have spread over a 1.5 kilometers radius. As the plane hit high extension wires as it came down, there is no electricity in the area. Lack of electricity and landslides due to rain are causing further difficulties in the rescue operations.
Rescue operators from Rescue 112, army and volunteers are all present at the site. So far 80 bodies have been ambulanced to the nearby hospitals, out of which 17 are unidentifiable.
Bhoja air re-launched their operations in March 2012, with a fleet of five Boeing 737s. Bhoja got grounded in the year 2000 by the Civil Aviation Authority due to financial difficulties. So, far the private airline was connecting Karachi, Sukkur, Multan, Lahore and Islamabad after it re-launch.