RAWALPINDI: The Lahore-bound night coach of the Pakistan International Airlines — PK 625 — crashed soon after take-off early this morning [Aug 6], about 11 miles from here, killing all the 30 persons aboard — 26 passengers, including a lady and an infant — and four crew members. The plane — a Fokker Friendship — which took off from the rain-soaked Chaklala airport at 2-10a.m. was most probably struck by lightning and exploded in the air before it hit the ground.

The wreckage of the plane and the bodies of the victims, all torn into small pieces, were scattered all over the area — a few hundred yards away from the Radio Transmission Colony at Rawat and one and a half mile from Rawalpindi-Lahore highway. Only three bodies could be identified.

A thorough inquiry has been started ... by officials of the PIA and the Civil Aviation Department.... The inquiry is expected to be completed tonight. … The plane was in contact with the Chaklala control tower for about 20 minutes after take-off. It reported no trouble and sent no distress signal. … A security staff member at the Radio Transmission Centre said at about 2-45 a.m. he saw a big flame of lightning in the sky and heard a loud explosion.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020