Eye account of plane crash rescue activity December 11, 2016

It was around 5pm when I reached Abbottabad to pick Mom from Daewoo Express bus Station who had travelled to Peshawar from Chitral via PK-661. A sudden panic struck me when my eyes felled on the TV screens flashing the news of missing PIA plane carrying passengers from Chitral to Islamabad. A few minutes later DSP Havelian confirmed the crash of a plane, was the breaking news on TV screen. O my God Mom was also onboard the plane today; I could not believe she had safely landed at Peshawar airport on the same plane which was carrying passengers to Islamabad on the next flight. A sense of urgency and panic struck to help whatever I could to help Chitrali brethrens at this moment of tragic accident. I could douse the flames if, in any way, it was possible. We could shift them to hospital had there been survivors. We would be able to inform back home exactly, about the victims of the tragedy. My mobile started ringing. Please go to crash site and tell us about the situation if there were any survivors, was the call of loved ones of the victims. My friend Adl.Assistant Commissioner, Abbas Shah Bukhari, who was near the crash site, advised me to go to Civil Hospital Havelian, to make arrangements as victims would be brought there. When we reached there MS Civil Hospital Havellian Mr.Aftab Mughul informed that emergency had already been declared. Doctors and Nursing Staff were high alert to cope with the situation. We could not stop there and took an employee of the hospital to guide us to the crash site. Driving in unknown track and attending to the continuous calls at the same time could be risky but desperate situation needed desperate measures. After almost twenty minutes drive we were told that there was no jeep able road ahead and we had to walk on foot for almost thirty minutes. We started marching along with gun trotting army Jawans, before that we had to stop, for, a senior army man was instructing them how to manage the situation once they reach there. Deputy Commissioner Mansehra was kind enough to dispatch teams of Volunteer Task Force and Ambulances instantly to the scene and regularly asked as what kind of any other help would be needed.

Dusk felled when we reached. There was awe and agony at the scene of plane destruction. The hill side is steeply with low scrub bush. Fire from high octane gasoline had engulfed almost 450 square feet area.2000-3000 individuals had gathered there. Almost 1/4 of them consisted of army jawans.Nazim Abbottabad gently pushed me aside to make way ahead. An ethereal smell of the, on fire, bodies of the passengers had infected the whole atmosphere. Body parts would emerge from the spot where Smelly Smoke was rising. Kalma shahadad and Allahu Akber chanting civilians would collect Shaheeds body (parts) underneath the embers. Civilians had collected different color Chadder and Dupatas to cover and lift the body parts of the departed souls. Often they would use it as a glove to collect burning hot human flesh. The bodies were charred and left to borne beyond recognition. It is unfortunate we are so ill equipped to manage such kind of incidents. Army helicopters were hovering above the sky but there was no aerial drop of fire extinguishers. Gun trotting Jawans had taken control of the place but there were no proper arrangement for light. No generator was there to light any electric bulb. Hand torch were being used during evacuation operation. Something exploded with a bang beside us among the wreckage to scare many people.

The battle was lost, seeking for survivors was hoping against hope. We had to move to AMC as bodies were being shifted there. By the time we reached there a team of more than fifteen doctors were busy in getting the victims identified so that the bodies could be handed over to the bereaved families. It was a challenging and huge task for medical teams. Team from NADRA was present to help in identification process. Deputy Commisioner Abbottabad Capt,Jahanzeb Haider, Assitant Commisoner Abbottabad Dr, Jahanzeb, and Assistant Commisoner Mansehra Eng,Naveed Ahmad, DPO Dr,Khurram supervised the whole process. Officers and friends of Late DC Chitral thronged into the mortuary. Officers from Chitral and Officials from Hazara division showed their presence. District Nazim Chitral remained in the hospital for hours. By 3pm the remains of Zeeshan, Shahzada Farhat Aziz and Mobeen was identified. The doctors announced that no more bodies could be identified and that bodies would be shifted to PIMS Islamabad for DNA finger printing the next day. A pause was declared.

Samples from all the bodies were taken; on December 8th numbers were allotted to deceased coffins. Next morning CM KPK announced that bodies may not be shifted to Islamabad until he reached there by 11am.Excellency did not turn up and almost three agonizing hours wasted. PPP MPAs from Chitral shouldered the coffin to the ambulances to shift through helicopters. Mukhi Ramat ali,Manager Nizam uddin and Dr,Shahid Shamsi disbursed along with me to have a nap after the long agonizing hours of rescue activity. May all the departed souls rest in eternal peace. —¬†Fida Ul Karim, Additional Assistant Commisiner Mansehra, 11 Dec 2016

1 Comment

  • Sultan Wali Khan says:

    Dear Fida Ul Karim, you have described the eyewitness story of the aircraft tragic event of December 07, 2016. During study of your statement, I could not stop my tears. No doubt, the only persons with strong nerves can observe the desperate situation like this one. To me, It looks like it was happened with my family members. Believe me, I could not absorb the tragedy so far. your eyewitness narration has further refreshed my sorrows. May Almighty Allah rest the dear departed souls in eternal peace and also Almighty bless the bereaved families with courage to bear the loss with patience and perseverance. AMEEN!

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