15 killed as Pakistani army plane crashes into residential area

Fifteen people were killed when a small military plane crashed early Tuesday into a residential area in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad, a rescue official told AFP.

“A small plane crashed into a residential area. So far we have retrieved 15 dead bodies, including 10 civilians and five crew members,” rescue spokesman Farooq Butt said, adding that a further 12 people had been injured.

The plane belonged to the Pakistani military and crashed near an upscale neighborhood in the garrison city home to the army’s headquarters.

 

An AFP reporter at the scene said smoke was still rising from the wreckage and destroyed homes, while pieces of the plane were visible on a nearby roof.

Military officials had cordoned off the scene while a crowd of residents stood nearby, with some sobbing.

Pakistan has a chequered aviation safety record, with plane and helicopter crashes frequently over the years.

In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while traveling from remote northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.

The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010 when an Airbus 321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad while coming into land, killing all 152 onboard.

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