Pakistan Plane Crash: India Reaches Out

  on April 20 2012 4:40 PM
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered his condolences to his Pakistani counterpart, Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, following Friday's deadly plane crash.

I was deeply grieved to learn of the air tragedy near Islamabad that occurred earlier this evening leading to the loss of so many precious lives, Singh said in a message to Gillani. I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this unfortunate incident.  I pray that the Almighty will grant them strength to bear their loss.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with the people of Pakistan in this time of grief, Singh continued.

The message represented a rare display of warmth between the two neighbors known for their turbulent relations.

The chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, Mamata Banjeree, also expressed her condolences to the families of the Pakistani brothers and sisters who died in the crash, India Today reported.  

India and Pakistan -- both of which have nuclear capabilities -- have sought to restore peace talks that were disrupted by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed about 170 people.

All 127 people aboard the Bhoja Airlines flight from Karachi died when the plane crashed just miles from its destination, Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport, on Friday.

Poor weather is blamed for the crash, and there are reports that the aircraft was struck by lightning and broke up in midair.

The weather was very bad, there was hail and thunderstorm. The pilot lost control and hit the ground. It tossed up due to the impact and exploded and came down in a fireball, the British Telegraph quoted a Pakistani Navy official as saying.

Bodies and debris were scattered across a half-mile radius, the Telegraph added.

It was a scene from hell: bodies were all over the place, in the wheat fields and on the roofs of homes, one witness said.

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