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Pakistan Plane Crash Kills All 152 On Board


A Pakistani airliner crashed today in heavy rain near Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.

Imtiaz Elahi, the chairman of Islamabad's Capital Development Authority, said earlier reports that five survivors had been found were wrong.

An Airbus belonging to the private Pakistani carrier Airblue had been flying from Karachi to Islamabad when it crashed in the Margalla Hills, about two kilometers from Islamabad's city center.

The cause of the crash is not immediately clear. Terrorism is not suspected. Witnesses say the plane was preparing to land amid heavy cloud cover and monsoonlike rains.

One man, Saqlain Altaf, told the media that he saw the plane looking unsteady in the air seconds before the crash. The plane "lost balance," he said, and went down.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Islamabad told the Reuters news agency that two U.S. citizens are among the victims.

Pakistan has declared a day of national mourning on July 29, with Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani and his cabinet expressing "grief and sorrow over the tragic incident" and offering prayers for the dead.

Airblue is a Karachi-based private commercial company formed in 2004 that operates a small fleet of medium-haul aircraft. A spokesman, Raheel Ahmed, said this was the airline's first fatal crash.

compiled from agency reports
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