A Pakistani passenger jet carrying 151 people -- many of them pilgrims from Mecca -- crashed soon after take-off in Saudi Arabia on Monday (26 November).
AERIAL VIEW Plane wreckage strewn over wide area between Jeddah and Mecca
GV & ZOOM IN Large chunks of metal lying in desert
CU Fragments of fuselage and tyres (3 shots)
LV & ZOOM OUT Officials standing near wreckage
CU Metal cog and strip of metal with letters on side (3 shots)
GV Rescue vehicles and helicopters at scene
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A Pakistani passenger jet carrying 151 people -- many of them pilgrims from Mecca -- crashed soon after take-off in Saudi Arabia on Monday (26 November). The Boeing 707, bound for Karachi, came down in remote desert country near jeddah. Pakistan International Airways said it was feared all aboard the passenger jet had been killed. The first indication of trouble on the flight came 21 minutes after take-off from Jeddah. The pilot radioed that smoke was seeping into the cabin and cockpit. He requested to return to Jeddah for an emergency landing. Then, fifteen minutes later, the Jeddah control tower heard the pilot shout "Mayday, Mayday" -- and the radio went silent.
SYNOPSIS: Saudi Arabian rescue teams immediately began searching for the missing airliner. But by the time they located the crash site -- in the remote hills east of Mecca -- there was little hope for survivors. Debris from the Pakistani Boeing was scattered over a distance of three miles (about five kilometres).
Among the passengers were 111 Pakistani Moslems who, apparently, were returning from a pilgrimage to the Grand Mosque in Mecca. There was speculation that some of the pilgrims were among hostages held by Moslem extremists who occupied the Grand Mosque until the week before.
Pakistani officials have not ruled out the possibility of sabotage, but they said on Monday that an electrical fault could also have been the cause of the crash.