Pakistan promises full probe into airliner crash
ISLAMABAD - Reuters
AFP photoPakistani officials today promised a full investigation into the crash of a domestic flight that killed 127 people, saying they were examining all possibilities, from a technical fault to the age of the Boeing 737 to sabotage.
Grieving relatives claiming the remains of loved ones at a hospital expressed grief and anger over the crash in a storm as the plane approached Islamabad on a flight from Karachi, Pakistan's commercial hub.
Armed police kept media out of the Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital where the remains were stored.
With wreckage scattered over a square km of wheat fields, officials said there were no survivors.
"We are trying to find out whether the life of the plane was over, whether it was a technical fault, whether it was sabotage or any other reason," Interior Ministers Rehman Malik told reporters.
The Boeing 737-200 was more than 27 years old, according to AviationSafety.net.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, speaking outside the hospital, said: "Until investigations are completed, we cannot jump to any conclusions."
Malik said the owner of Bhoja Air, Farooq Bhoja, had been barred from leaving the country to ensure his cooperation with the investigation. "Action will be taken, and will be seen to have been taken, I promise you," he said.
Bhoja Air started flights in 1993 but suspended operations eight years later because of financial problems. It resumed domestic flights only last month.
The plane's "black box", which records flight data, was recovered last night, rescue authorities said.
Bhoja officials were not immediately available for comment.
Many of the relatives gathered at the hospital had flown up from Karachi on Saturday morning for the task of identifying victims. Women and men sobbed openly and pushed reporters away.
"My brothers are gone! My brothers are gone!" wailed Mohammad Shahzad, slumping to the ground by the hospital entrance.
One brother had been identified, he said, the other remained missing. Both had been on a day-long business trip linked to the transport company run by the three siblings.
"We don't know what to tell the kids, we don't know what to tell my mother," Shahzad said.
"They keep calling. I told them there was an accident and we don't know anything yet."
Ayesha Ishaque pressed her face against a light brown wooden coffin labelled "Body 140". Her brother, Mohammad Saud Ishaque, had been returning home from studies in Karachi.
"Why has God done this to my brother," she wailed.