Pakistan plane: Army aircraft crashes into residential area killing 17

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At least 17 people have been killed after a small military plane crashed into a residential area in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, rescue officials have said.

Five crew members and 12 civilians are dead, officials told local media. Another 12 people have been injured.

The aircraft was on a routine training flight when it crash and set off a fire which engulfed several houses.

Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, is the site of the army’s headquarters.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. The plane was part of the Pakistani Army’s aviation unit.

A crowd of local residents, some sobbing, gathered at the residential area where the incident occurred, said news agency AFP.

“I woke up to the sound of a huge explosion,” said resident Mohammad Sadiq. “People were screaming, We tried to help them but the flames were too high and the fire too intense.”

Another resident said the plane appeared to be on fire before it crashed.

Pictures from the scene showed blackened buildings that had been reduced to rubble.

A reporter from AFP said smoke was still rising from the wreckage, adding that pieces of the plane were visible on a nearby roof.

In 2010, an aircraft operated by private airline Airblue crashed near Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board – the deadliest air disaster in Pakistani history.

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