According to eyewitnesses, the Bhoja aircraft was already engulfed by fire as it attempted to land, and then crashed. Due to severe weather conditions at the time, it is suspected that the fire was caused by lightning strike. Strong winds, heavy rain and hail may also have interfered with the passenger jet’s landing procedure.
Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority chief, Nadeem Khan Yousafzai, said the passenger jet plummeted from 2,900ft (883 metres) and crashed. A full investigation into the crash is underway.
Pakistani’s Minister of Interior, A. Redman Malik, announced that all the shareholders of Bhoja Air have been prohibited from leaving Pakistan until the investigation into the crash is completed.
Bhoja Airlines is a small airline that started operating domestic flights in 1993. However, due to financial difficulties, the airline ceased operations in 2000. Bhoja resumed operations in 2011, and its first flight was in March 2012. The Pakistani government has been heavily criticized for issuing a license to the airline.
According to the Aviation Safety Network organisation, the aircraft was more than 27 years old.
This is the second aircraft crash in Pakistani in two years. In July 2010, all 152 people onboard an Airblue Airbus A321 were killed when the aircraft crashed in Islamabad.
While the country’s air industry has expanded in recent years, standards have not advanced in line with the industry growth.