As fire and smouldering flesh fell from the sky, Intazar Hussain could be excused for thinking it was the end of the world.
A resident of Hussainabad, where the ill-fated Bhoja Air plane crashed, Hussain and several other eye-witnesses revealed how exactly the plane crashed – and the recap was dramatic.
“I was in the field and I saw the plane in a landing position. The pilot was attempting to land (the plane) in the field but then it crashed into the trees … after that, he tried to lift it up and then the plane exploded in the air.”
Zafar Ali, a student, who was also an eyewitness, confirmed that the plane attempted to land and crashed into trees after which the pilot lifted the plane upwards for sometime.
The remains of the plane were scattered over three houses in particular, spread out over around two and a half acres. Fortunately for the residents of the area, most were either in their rooms or in the fields when the crash occurred.
“I am lucky that all my family members were saved and only my house walls were damaged,’’ said a shaken resident, Sagheer Ahmed.
Hussainabad village is located a mere ten kilometres away from the main highway. The village comes under the Koral Union Council and has a population of over 3,000 people. The majority of the residents are government employees.
Talking to The Express Tribune, residents and eyewitnesses said that they were they were going about their routine when they suddenly heard a huge blast. It was obvious that no one had recovered from the trauma just yet.
“I was preparing food, I just heard a huge blast, and when I reached outside I saw scattered body parts. It was terrible,” said Hussain’s wife, Azra.
Seven-year-old Nafeesa Batool was standing at the door when debris landed in her home. Unable to comprehend what had happened, she wept in her mother’s arms.
“It was a nightmare for me when I saw scattered body parts. Initially, I could not understand what had happened,’’ said Nazia Hussain, another witness.
While residents remained shaken, rescue operations picked up speed on Saturday. Workers from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) removed the remaining body parts and moved them to hospitals. Much of the wreckage, however, has not been removed. Talking to the media, Captain Mujahid Islam, head of the CAA investigation team, said the plane parts would be lifted after gathering forensic evidence from the site.“Parts of the plane will not be lifted until the investigation is completed,” he added.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Amir Ali Ahmed said the recovery operation was complete. Responding to a query, he said that the ICT civil defence staff will remain present at the site till Sunday evening. Unfortunately, not everyone present at the site on Friday appeared to have been interested in the rescue operation. “I have seen plenty of people stealing gold bangles from the arms of a body, and some youngsters were busy collecting cash and mobile phones from the site,” Muhammad Asif, a resident, told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.
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