No survivors from Pakistan plane crash, official says

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Airliner was originally sold in 1985, a Boeing spokeswoman says

Number of people on flight raised to 127, officials said

The flight data recorder is recovered at the crash site in Islamabad

Crisis operation rooms have been set up at airports in Islamabad and Karachi

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN  — 

A commercial airplane carrying 127 people crashed Friday in Islamabad just before it was to land at a nearby airport, according to Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, which cited poor weather as a possible factor.

At least 120 bodies have been recovered from the scene, Interior Minister A Rehman Malik said. No survivors have been found.

“In the morning we will start to search by helicopters,” Malik said overnight, adding that officials could not bring in helicopters on Friday due to bad weather.

Authorities twice changed the number people reported to be on board, but by Friday afternoon appeared to agree on the figure.

From what he’s seen, “I don’t see any survivor here – all 127 people seem to be dead,” the interior minister said.

Debris and body parts were scattered across the crash site as workers sifted through the wreckage in the heavily populated residential area. Four villages were affected by the crash, and debris from the plane has been recovered within a kilometer of the site, Malik told reporters.

More than a 150 bags filled with body parts have been transported to hospitals across the region, according to Farkhand Iqbal, a municipal official in Islamabad.

World’s deadliest plane crashes

The flight data recorder, which is considered a key component in determining what may have caused the tragedy, was recovered, officials said.

The Bhoja airliner had been flying from the southern seaport city of Karachi and crashed just before touching down in the capital after its 3½-hour flight.

Local authorities say the crash site is located about five aeronautical miles from the airport in Islamabad.

Weather reports indicated that conditions in the area included thunderstorms and limited visibility.

Authorities are examining what may have caused the crash and the potential for additional casualties at the site of the wreckage.

Investigators are “going to be looking at technology,” aviation security consultant Greg Feith said. “What kind of radio equipment, what kind of ground proximity warning system the aircraft was equipped with, weather radar, things like that … since the weather may be a factor in this accident.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday expressed “deep shock and grief over the tragedy,” ordering his country’s Civil Aviation Authority “to gear up all its resources for rescue operation,” state media reported.

A separate inquiry into the incident has been launched by Pakistan’s Safety Investigation Board, and two crisis operation rooms have been set up at airports in both Islamabad and Karachi to provide information to the affected families.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the American manufacturer “stands ready to provide technical assistance to the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan.”

The airliner was originally sold in 1985, Julie O’Donnell said.

“The Boeing Company wishes to extend its profound condolences to the families and friends of those lost today in the Bhoja Air accident in Pakistan, as well as wishes for the recovery of those injured,” said O’Donnell.

Responding to allegations that the aircraft was not in good condition to fly, Defense Secretary Nargis Sethi told a local television station that the government has initiated “an immediate investigation.”

“Whether it was 10, 8 years old, or not airworthy, is something that we can’t confirm yet,” Sethi said.

But Bhoja Air station manager Zahid Bangish told a Pakistani television station later Friday that the “aircraft was new, not the old one and unairworthy.”

The crash is reminiscent of one in 2010, when 152 people were killed as a Pakistani passenger plane crashed on the outskirts of Islamabad. That plane was also was coming from Karachi when it crashed into a hillside while trying to land, officials said at the time.

Four years earlier, another airliner crashed in central Pakistan, leaving 45 dead.

The first known commercial passenger airplane crash occurred in Pakistan in 1953 when a Canadian Pacific DH-106 Comet crashed shortly after takeoff from Karachi. That crash killed 11 people on board.

CNN’s Wajahat S. Khan, Aaron Cooper, Kathryn Tancos, Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.