National day of mourning for air crash in Islamabad
Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) – A national day of mourning has been declared throughout the country today in wake of yesterday’s air disaster the worst in Pakistan’s history. Yesterday, an Airbus of the private company Airblue, travelling from Karachi to Islamabad, crashed into the Margallo Hills, north of the capital.
The cause of the disaster has yet to be confirmed, even if the bad weather conditions of dense fog and monsoon rains in the mountainous area are believed to be at the root of the crash.. Contrary to earlier rumours, the black boxes has not yet been found.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has declared Thursday a day of national mourning and ordered flags flown at half mast. Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister of Information, said that of about 152 people who were on board, 115 bodies have been recovered. But the state of the bodies is such as to require DNA testing to identify victims.
Bad weather and the mountainous nature of the area is making rescue work difficult, witnesses have described a "horrific" scene, with bodies or parts of them are scattered hundreds of yards or caught up in the metal. So far 46 bodies have been identified.
The crashed plane was in good condition, but many wonder why it was allowed to fly. Many flights from Karachi to Islamabad had been cancelled due to bad weather.
Many relatives of victims complain of limited information and of receiving little help. Yesterday many stayed for a whole day at the airport waiting for news. The civil aviation authorities have opened an information desk at the Jinnah Terminal, but the only thing they have to offer is the passenger list.