At least seventeen people were killed and 18 wounded when a Pakistani military aircraft crashed in Rawalpindi during a routine training flight and a massive fire broke out at the crash site.
The military plane crashed into a residential area near Rabi Plaza in the early hours of Tuesday morning, killing the two pilots and three crew members on board and sparking a conflagration that soon engulfed five houses, according to local media. At least 17 people have been reported killed and 18 more wounded. A military statement confirmed the dead include five soldiers.
Rescue sources worry that the death toll may rise further as several people are believed to be trapped in the wreckage and some of the wounded are in critical condition, though fire and rescue teams have brought the fire under control and sent the injured to a nearby hospital. Authorities have declared an emergency in all hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The cause of the crash is not yet known; rescue officials report the plane “suddenly lost control with the tower.”
“We have shifted all the bodies and injured persons to hospitals,” emergency services official Farooq Butt said. “Most of the victims received burn injuries and children are among the dead.”
Army helicopters were later seen hovering over the crash site and troops and police cordoned off the area after rescue efforts were completed in order to search for crash debris and other evidence.