Passenger plane crashes near Islamabad: police

A passenger plane carrying 126 people crashed while trying to land during bad weather near Islamabad on Friday evening, officials said.

The Bhoja airline flight from Karachi came down outside Islamabad airport, police official Fazle Akbar told AFP, adding that emergency teams were on their way to the site.

"It was not immediately clear how many people were on board. We have sent teams to get details," Akbar said.

A senior defence ministry official said there were 126 people on board the Boeing 737, adding that "so far there is no good news" about survivors.

Saifur Rehman, an official from the police rescue team said the plane came down in Hussain Abad village, about three kilometres (two miles) from the main Islamabad highway.

"Fire erupted after the crash. The wreckage is on fire, the plane is completely destroyed. We have come with teams of firefighters and searchlights and more rescuers are coming," Rehman told Geo television.

An airport source said the plane was due to land at Islamabad airport at 6:50 pm (1350 GMT) but lost contact with the control tower at 6:40 pm and crashed shortly afterwards before reaching the runway.

Inter-city travel is most efficient by air in Pakistan.

In July 2010, an Airbus 321 passenger jet operated by the private airline Airblue crashed into hills overlooking Islamabad while coming in to land after a flight from Karachi, killing 152 people on board.

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