A Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane flying from Chitral has crashed on its flight to Islamabad, officials said.

According Civil Aviation Authority sources, the ATR-42 plane with 47 passengers went missing from the radar near Havelian while it was on its way to Islamabad.

The plane took off from Chitral around 3:00PM but communication with the control tower was broken around 4:30PM, shortly before it was about to arrive at its destination.

A CAA spokesperson said search for the missing plane was underway.

CAA sources confirmed a mayday call from the pilot to the control tower shortly before it lost communication with the plane.

A statement from the PIA confirmed that the plane had gone missing, but did not confirm the crash.

“We regret to inform that PIA’s ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad a short while ago. All resources are being mobilised to locate the aircraft. Media will be kept informed as situation develops,” said the PIA.

The PIA said an emergency response center has been activated and can be accessed at following phone numbers for updates:

PIA Emergency response center: 0092-21-99044890, 0092-21-99044376, and 0092-21-99044394

Eyewitnesses said they had seen a plane crash in a hilly area near Havelian, near the Ordinance factory. Clouds of smoke could be seen rising from the area of the reported crash.

Ground rescue teams had been sent to the area, sources said.

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