ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistani authorities investigating a plane crash that killed all 48 passengers on Wednesday has begun DNA testing on the bodies recovered from the wreckage.

An army spokesman said the bodies air-lifted from the site were burnt beyond recognition and will be handed over to families after they are identified.

The plane crashed into a hillside around 80 kilometers from the capital Islamabad, where it was headed after leaving northwestern Chitral district, a popular tourist site, after the engine reportedly failed.

Among those killed was the popular singer-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed, his wife and three foreigners.

“Most of the bodies, including that of Junaid Jamshed, are badly charred beyond recognition. There is no other way except through DNA tests to identify the victims,” Dr. Junaid Ahmed, an official at the Ayub Medical Complex Abbotabad, told reporters.

He said only six bodies could be identified by their finger prints but another official at the hospital, who could not be named as he was not cleared to speak to media, told not only a single body was intact.

Bad weather and fog delayed the transfer of the bodies for hours, as relatives of the victims gathered at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Islamabad to give DNA samples.

The Chitral-Islamabad route is considered one of the most perilous air routes due to its mountainous nature.


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