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Pakistani Army Plane Crashes Into Residential Area, Killing At Least 18


Soldiers cordon off the site where a Pakistani Army Aviation Corps aircraft crashed in Rawalpindi on July 30.

ISLAMABAD -- At least 18 people were killed when a small Pakistani military plane crashed into a residential area near the garrison city of Rawalpindi, officials say.

The army said in a statement that five crew members, including two pilots, died in the July 30 crash.

Rescue official Farooq Butt said 13 civilians, including children, were also killed and at least 12 others were injured on the ground.

Some of the injured were said to be in critical condition.

The plane was on a routine training flight when it crashed in the village of Mora Kalu after daybreak and set off a fire that engulfed at least three houses.

No details were given about the cause of the tragedy or what kind of aircraft it was.

Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, is the site of the Pakistani military’s headquarters.

Videos and photographs from the scene showed blackened buildings that had been reduced to rubble.

The aircraft "hit the side of the building and the structure it crashed into completely collapsed," Reuters quoted a military officer at the site as saying.

"I woke up to the sound of a huge explosion," resident Mohammad Sadiq told AFP. "People were screaming, We tried to help them but the flames were too high and the fire too intense."

Butt said the injured were being treated in hospitals, where an emergency was declared.

Some of the bodies retrieved from the rubble were burnt beyond recognition and DNA testing was being conducted to identify them, he said.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in separate statements expressed their grief and sorrow for those killed or injured.

An investigation is underway.

With reporting AP, dpa, the BBC, and Reuters

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