Pakistan has blocked the head of an airline whose jet crashed near the capital, Islamabad, from leaving the country as it began an investigation today into the country's second major air disaster in less then two years.
The Bhoja Air passenger jet crashed Friday night local time as it tried to land in a thunderstorm at Islamabad’s main airport, killing all 127 people on board, according to media reports.
A top official at Pakistan's meteorological department said the plane should never have been cleared to land, Hindustan Times reported.
The government had issued two weather warnings prior to the plane's crash. Both citied high wind pressure.
“The plane should have been directed to land at the alternate airport, which is the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore,” Arif Mehmood, director general of Pakistan's meteorological department told Hindustan Times.
Bhoja Air, which resumed operations in March after an 11-year pause, has said the weather was the cause, according to the Associated Press.
Bloomberg cited Interior Minister Rehman Malik, speaking at the scene of the crash, as saying that Farooq Bhoja, the head of Bhoja Air, had been put on the "exit control list," meaning he cannot leave Pakistan.
Such a ban is often put on someone suspected or implicated in a criminal case.
Malik said that "it is being said that the aircraft was pretty old, so it has been ordered to investigate thoroughly the air worthiness of the Bhoja Air aircraft."
"The causes will be investigated, whether it was any fault in the aircraft, it was lightning, the bad weather or any other factor that caused loss of precious lives," he said.
Meanwhile, rescue workers were continuing their search of the wreckage in the village of Hussain Abad, a residential area near Islamabad international airport, the BBC reported.
However, on Saturday morning officials confirmed there were no survivors.
Investigators have recovered the flight data recorder of the twin-engine Boeing 737-200, which was carrying 118 passengers and nine crew members, and was on approach to land at the Pakistani capital on a flight from Karachi.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with Bhoja Air flight BHO-213 from Karachi to Islamabad about 6.40pm local time, according to GEO TV.