Plane Crashes In Northern Pakistan; 48 People Are Believed Dead

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An image from 2015 shows a Pakistan International Airlines plane preparing to leave Chitral for Islamabad. A different plane flying that same route crashed Wednesday.

Crews have recovered 21 bodies from the site of a Pakistan International Airlines flight that crashed north of Islamabad on Wednesday. Search teams were still working to find other victims in the crash of the plane carrying 48 people, including former pop singer Junaid Jamshed, according to local media.

Flight PK-661 had been traveling from the city of Chitral to Islamabad. There's been some confusion about the exact number of people who were on the plane, possibly because the 42 passengers included two infants; a ground engineer from the airline was also on board. Pakistan International Airlines confirmed that a total of 48 people were on the flight.

There were no survivors, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority says. The agency also notes that the crash seems to have been an accident, not the result of an attack.

"Junaid Jamshed and one of his three wives, Nayha Junaid are confirmed dead," the Dawn news outlet reports. "According to photographs on his official Facebook page, Junaid Jamshed was in Chitral with friends."

Reporting from Islamabad for NPR's Newscast unit, Abdul Sattar says:

"The crash triggered a huge fire. Rescue teams are trying to recover the bodies of the victims. Pakistan has had two terrible crashes in the last six years. This crash has renewed fears about the safety of flying in Pakistan."

Some of the bodies recovered were badly burned, and Pakistan's government says mobile biometric teams are being called upon to help identify the dead.

As Pakistan's aviation agency notes, the crash occurred on International Civil Aviation Day.

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