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Pilot reported engine trouble in mayday call before Pakistan crash

By Andrew V. Pestano
Pilot reported engine trouble in mayday call before Pakistan crash
Rescue workers carry a coffin containing the remains of a victim of a plane crash to an ambulance for DNA identification in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday. Rescue teams managed to recover the bodies of all 47 people who were traveling aboard Pakistan International Airlines' ill-fated ATR-42 aircraft, which crashed into a mountain in the country's north on Wednesday. An airline officials said the pilot made a mayday call reporting engine trouble before the crash. Photo by T. Mughal/European Pressphoto Agency

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The pilot of Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK661 that crashed near Islamabad made a mayday call reporting engine trouble prior to losing contact, the airline's chairman said.

PIA Chairman Muhammad Azam Saigol told reporters the pilot made the call to flight controllers at 4:09 p.m. local time on Wednesday -- shortly before the plane crash that killed all 47 aboard the twin-propeller plane heading from Chitral to Islamabad.

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An investigation into the incident has been launched and a flight data recorder was recovered. Saigol said strict examinations of the craft left "no room for any technical error."

"I want to make it clear that it was a perfectly sound aircraft," Saigol said. "I think there was no technical error or human error."

But Muhammad Irfan Elahi, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority's secretary of aviation and board chairman, told the Pakistani Dawn newspaper, "there is no other reason for the plane crash other than the failure of the left engine."

The Civil Aviation Authority has urged people to "refrain spreading rumors" after an alleged recording of the crash surfaced.

"Audio tape being circulated on social media allegedly of crashed flight PK661 is not authentic and is fake," the aviation authority said.

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One of the victims on board the plane was Junaid Jamshed, a Pakistani pop star turned evangelical Muslim cleric and fashion designer.

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