Flight ED202 of Air Blue Airlines crashed this morning around 9.45 local time into the Daman-e-Koh Hills (3,000ft) near Islamabad. The Airbus A321 had 146 passengers and six crew on board. Islamabad, Pakistan. 28/07/2010
The Air Blue plane was flying from Turkey to Islamabad via Karachi and was to land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. However, because of a busy flight schedule and bad weather conditions, the plane was requested to land in the take off area. This happens from time to time, whenever air traffic is heavy.
Runway 12 on the Murree Road side, where the plane was to land, does not have an ILS to guide aircraft. The ILS is on Runway 30, which is on the opposite side, so the procedure is that pilots fly using the ILS to get till Runway 30 and then break off and turn right and fly parallel to the Margalla hills and then turn back in and land on Runway 12. It’s not a circle but more like a race-track.
The exact cause of the crash and why it was flying in the Red Zone area of Islamabad airspace was not immediately clear. Eyewitnesses have said that before it crashed the plane was flying very low towards the Margalla Hills with its wheels out, even though the airport is almost 25 kilometres on the opposite side.
Some sources have indicated that the pilot involved was 65 years old and this may hint at the violation of age restrictions.
The dead and injured were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad and the CMH in Rawalpindi.
The grief-stricken relatives of passengers on board were feeling helpless as the instructions they have been issued are not accurate -- they don’t know which hospitals the dead bodies and the injured would be taken to. One of them said this indicated a total lack of responsibility on the administration’s part.
There was also concern over the conditions that the dead bodies were being brought in, one was seen wrapped in bags.
Airline and rescue teams battled bad weather conditions to gain access to the site of the crash, which is not accessible by road. Pakistan Army helicopters were also being used but the effort has been affected by inclement weather.