Indeed it is a sad start to the day in Pakistan today when AirBlue flight got crashed into Margalla hills Islamabad having 150+ people on board including crew members. The plane had reportedly lost contact with the control tower during the crash probably because of thick fog and heavy rainfall in Islamabad.
The flight was asked to delay landing at the Islamabad airport as the airport was busy. Another version of the media report says the plane was re-routed to Lahore due to bad weather at Islamabad. Whether it was an error of judgment by the pilot or lack of proper communication by the control tower, the fateful AirBlue AirBus went down in the dense hillside near Shah Faisal Mosque. The wreckage can be seen in video footage in news bulletins with fierce fire raging and smoke emitting from the crash site possibly from an explosion in fuel tanks.
There are confusions about the route of flight too. Some news reports claim that the plane was coming from Turkey to Islamabad via Karachi, while some say that it a scheduled Karachi Islamabad flight. According to Karachi airport website the flight ABQ-202 was bound for Islamabad from Karachi and took off at 7:30 am as a regular flight.
Weekly schedule of the flight ABQ 202 as provided by the Karachi Airport website proves the flight was indeed originated from Karachi for Islamabad.
The sad news spread like wild fire through social media this morning as soon as it happens. Facts and figures and hopes and prayers for the survivors were all over the timeline of twitter. Express tribune has done a remarkable job as it updated the news with details of the incident almost every 5 minutes. Real time updates of the crash are still coming as rescue work has begun and there are hopes for the survivors too. Unfortunately, Airblue website has no updates regarding the crash or rescue information for the families of the people on board so far.
Here is how the social media (Twitter) is reporting AirBlue crash updates:
ZareenZ shared a picture of Margalla Hills where the plane is crashed.
Phone numbers for any info on today’s #AirBlue crash in #Islamabad: +92-51-9211223-4. ~ Dr_Afaq
ABQ 202 is “On Time”. #airblue website at at 12:52 pm, July 28,’10; their flight schedule. http://yfrog.com/mmoy2j #islamabad #crash ~ QasimNauman
20 bodies recovered. No survivors /bodies reached PIMS though its been more than 1 & 1/2hr ~ Express 24/7 reporter Sabur Ali Syed #airblue ~ kashaziz
RT @ayeshaesque: Authorities at #Islamabad airport has shut the news channels & switched to entertainment ones #Pakistan #Airblue ~kashaziz
12 people who were supposed to be on the tragic Air Blue flight decided not to travel today for one reason or another #airblue #islamabad. ~ Jehan Ara
Search and rescue operations underway in #islamabad after #pakistan airblue crashes in margalla hills. So far 5 survivors , 5 dead. ~ lyse doucet
Real time Twitter updates related to AirBlue plane crash can be checked here.
Dawn published passenger list of the fateful Airblue ABQ 202.
AirBlue is a six year old private airline operating in Pakistan with low fare offers as compared to PIA. Probably that is why people prefer to fly with them but why the flight operation was not canceled when weather reports are not so good for both Karachi and Islamabad? only Civil aviation authorities could answer that.