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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
No survivors in Pakistani crash
The crashed plane
The plane was going to Lahore and then Islamabad, reports say

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane has crashed on a domestic flight, killing all 45 people on board, officials say.

The twin-engine Fokker aircraft crashed soon after take-off from the central city of Multan and burst into flames.

Rescuers could not save those inside. Officials said senior members of the military and judiciary were on board.

It is not clear what caused the crash, but eyewitness reports suggest it may have been a technical fault.

Flight PK 688 to Lahore is believed to have been carrying 41 passengers and four crew when it went down.

There was a huge explosion after the plane hit the ground
Mohammed Nadeem, eyewitness

"All passengers and crew are dead in the air crash," district co-ordination officer Iftikhar Babar told Pakistan's private Geo TV channel.

"Fire erupted after the crash and all bodies were charred beyond recognition."

He told the BBC the dead included two high court judges, two senior army officers, one senior PIA official and a senior police officer.

Technical malfunction is one line of inquiry crash investigators are pursuing. Mr Babar said some witnesses had seen flames coming from the aircraft after take-off.

'Huge explosion'

Eyewitnesses say the aircraft hit an electric power line before crashing in a field.

"The plane lost contact with the control tower about two minutes after take-off. We don't know what happened to it," PIA engineer Mansoor A Rahi told the Associated Press news agency.

"There was a huge explosion after the plane hit the ground," one eyewitness, Mohammed Nadeem, told AP.

"The plane began to come down abruptly," another eyewitness, Arshad Gujjar, said. "Then there were flames and dust."

Witnesses at the scene of the crash say they saw a number of bodies which had been badly burnt.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says the issue of Pakistan's ageing fleet of Fokker aircraft was raised in parliament last year.

Some politicians said the planes should be grounded because they had flown far more than the recommended flight hours.

At the time, defence ministry officials said they were fit for flying.

Our correspondent says Pakistan International Airlines did order new planes to replace them last year - but most have yet to arrive.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Pakistan air crash
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