ISLAMABAD – A PIA plane carrying 48 passenger and crew members crashed into the mountainous region of Havelian on way to Islamabad from Chitral, authorities said.

Pop star turned Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed and his wife were on board the crashed aircraft. According to ISPR, 36 bodies have been recovered from the crash site.

Sarah, a Twitter user, claimed that her brother, a PIA pilot, had told his family that the crashed PIA aircraft was in bad condition.

“My brother is a captain he flew this ATR-42 a few days ago and was telling us about its bad condition,” she tweeted.

The place was not technically fit for taking flights and operating.

According to Ab Tak News, the plane had a questionable history and was not given clearance by the engineers and was flown under the duress of Director Flight Operation.

“The engineers did not give clearance for the plane but the Director Flight Operation coerced the staff to take the flight for Islamabad,” the sources revealed.

Secretary Aviation Irfan Ilahi also confirmed that the ATR-42 plane suffered engine problems.

“It is premature to say anything at the moment, but we know that the aircraft had engine problems,” he said.

On condition of anonymity, pilots told Geo News that the ill-fated PIA ATR tail registration AP-BHO had previous complaints of engine flameout.

CAA sources confirmed that the pilot of flight PK-661 sent a mayday call to the control tower shortly before the aviation staff on ground lost communication with the plane.

Flight PK-661 “lost contact with the control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago,” the airline said in a statement.

According to a spokesperson for the Commissioner’s office in Hazara Division, 42 bodies have been recovered from the plane’s wreckage, which had scattered over several kilometres. The Inter-Services Public Relations said around 500 army personnel were taking part in the operation to recover the bodies and any survivors, but witnesses on the crash site said there were unlikely to be any survivors.