Rawalpindi: Eighteen people were killed when a small military plane crashed into a residential area in Rawalpindi early Tuesday.
The plane crashed into a poor village near an upscale neighbourhood,creating a fireball that lit up the night sky and terrified residents.
“We have taken 18 dead bodies to hospital… that included 13 civilians and five crew members,” said local rescue spokesman 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.
One resident told AFP that the crash happened around 2am.
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.
Hours after the crash rescue workers could be seen combing through the smouldering site, gathering debris and inspecting the scene while ambulances swarmed the area.
Military officials had also cordoned off the crash site while a crowd of residents stood nearby, some of them sobbing.
Prime Minister Imran Khan offered his condolences to the affected families and wished a “quick recovery for the injured”, according to a tweet by the Pakistani government.
Pakistan has a chequered aviation safety record, with frequent plane and helicopter crashes over the years.
In 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while travelling from remote northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.