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Pakistan army plane crashes in Rawalpindi suburb, killing at least 18

Fifteen people were killed when a small military plane crashed early Tuesday, July 30 into a residential area in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad, a rescue official told AFP.

“We have taken 18 dead bodies to hospital … that included 13 civilians and five crew members,” said local rescue spokesperson Farooq Butt, adding that a further 12 people had been injured in the accident near the capital Islamabad.

“All the bodies are badly burned, so DNA tests are required for identification,” he added.

The plane belonged to the Pakistani military and crashed near an upscale neighborhood in the garrison city home to the army’s headquarters.

The military’s information wing said the plane was on a routine training mission when the accident occurred, adding that rescue officials had extinguished the fire caused by the crash and moved the injured to a local hospital.

An AFP reporter at the scene said smoke was still rising from the wreckage and destroyed homes, while pieces of the plane were visible on a nearby roof.

Military officials had cordoned off the scene while a crowd of local residents stood nearby, with some sobbing.

Pakistan has a checkered aviation safety record, with plane and helicopter crashes frequent over the years.

In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while traveling from remote northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.

The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010, when an Airbus 321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad while coming in to land, killing all 152 on board.

With reporting from AFP

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