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Bhoja Air, Pakistan plane crash
Paramilitary soldiers and members of the media gather near the wreckage of a Boeing 737 airliner that crashed in Islamabad, April 21, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

HUSSAINABAD: Pakistan has launched an investigation after a passenger jet crashed and burst into flames while attempting to land during a thunderstorm, killing all 127 people on board.

The Bhoja Air flight from Karachi came down in fields near a village on the outskirts of Islamabad on Friday evening.

The airline said the Boeing 737 was carrying 127 people on board.

Civil aviation official Junaid Khan told AFP: “All 127 people died. No one survived. There was no possibility of any survivor in this crash.”

Doctor Waseem Khwaja, who is in charge of Islamabad's main hospital, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, said bodies had been brought in more than 100 bags.

“There was no survivor, all on board are dead,” he told AFP.

Khwaja said that despite the fire, most of the bodies were not charred and 73 had been identified already.

A team of senior civil aviation officials have begun an investigation into the crash.

Pakistan Navy official Captain Arshad Mahmood said the crash happened as the plane approached the runway to land.

“The weather was very bad, there was hail and a thunderstorm. The pilot lost control and hit the ground. It tossed up due to the impact and exploded and came down in a fireball,” he said.

An airport source said the plane had been due to land at Islamabad airport at 6:50 pm but lost contact with the control tower at 6:40 pm and crashed shortly afterwards.

Nadeem Khan Yusufzai, director general of Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority, said initial reports suggested bad weather was to blame for the crash.

Bhoja Air relaunched domestic operations with a fleet of five 737s in March, according to newspaper reports, when the airline was planning to start flights connecting Karachi, Sukkur, Multan, Lahore and Islamabad.

Bhoja had been grounded in 2000 by civil aviation authorities amid financial difficulties, the reports said.