Victims of Pakistan air crash buried

Published: Monday, April 23, 2012, 0:00 [IST]
 
Victims of Pakistan air crash buried

Islamabad, Apr 23: People across Pakistan buried victims of an airline crash that killed 127 people as authorities announced on Sunday, Apr 22, that aircraft and pilots of all private airlines would have to undergo fresh tests following two more incidents involving airliners.

The funerals of those killed when a Bhoja Air Boeing 737-200 crashed in a village on the outskirts of Islamabad on Friday were held in cities across Pakistan.

Thirteen victims were buried in Islamabad on Saturday and funerals for 36 more were held in Karachi and other cities of Sindh province on Sunday.

Officials said a majority of the bodies had been identified and handed over to relatives of the victims.

DNA tests are being conducted to identify nine bodies which were badly mutilated, they said.

Footage on television showed weeping relatives collecting the coffins of victims at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad and at airports in cities like Karachi and Lahore.

A large crowd joined the funeral prayers for four members of a family in Karachi.

Just two days after the crash, two aircraft of the private Shaheen Air were involved in mishaps at Karachi and Lahore on Sunday.

Passengers on a 737-400 flying from Islamabad to Karachi had a narrow escape when one of its tyres burst while it was landing in the southern port city on Sunday afternoon.

Passengers told the media that the aircraft's wing hit the runway, throwing up a shower of sparks.

The main runway at Karachi airport was closed till late in the night due to the incident.

The plane had 172 passengers and a six-member crew on board.

In the second incident, the pilot of the Shaheen Air flight aborted take-off at the Lahore airport after detecting a leak in the fuel tank.

The aircraft, which was flying to the Iranian city of Mashhad, had 85 passengers and six crew members on board.

Following these incidents, Civil Aviation Authority chief Nadeem Yousufzai told the media that all aircraft and pilots of private airlines would have to undergo fresh tests from tomorrow.

Yousufzai said he had ordered probes into the incidents involving the aircraft of Shaheen Air.

The fresh tests for pilots will gauge their ability to cope with emergencies and their command over aircraft, he said.

In a related development, defence minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar announced that all private airlines would have to obtain fitness certificates for their aircraft in the next few days.

The defence ministry is responsible for the management of civil aviation.

Friday's disaster was the second major plane crash in the vicinity of Islamabad in less than two years.

An AirBlue airliner had crashed into the Margalla Hills in bad weather in July 2010, killing 152 people.

The Bhoja Air plane suddenly dropped from 2,900 feet to 2,000 feet as it made its final approach to the Benazir Bhutto International Airport and disappeared from the radar screen.

There was no indication from the pilot that he was in distress, officials said.

The aircraft's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered and will be sent for analysis.

The overall investigation could take up to a year to complete, Yousufzai has said.

Rescue workers on Saturday completed their operation at the crash site after locating the body parts of the 127 people killed in the crash, officials said.

PTI

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