In an unusual move, Pakistani authorities have decided to exhume the bodies of the crew of a plane that crashed last month killing 48 people to see if any of them were under the influence of drugs.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 crashed in a hilly area in Havelian near Abbottabad while en route from Chitral to Islamabad on December 7.
Five crew members were among those killed in the crash. Popular pop singer-turned-Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed, his wife and three foreigners were also among the 48 dead.
Pakistan has ordered a detailed probe into the crash. The black box report suggests both engines of the plane were perfect when it took off and one of the engines was working properly when it crashed.
District health officer Najeeb Durrani wrote a letter to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) suggesting graves of crew members should be dug up to determine if any of them were taking drugs and that doing so was a requirement of the investigation board, Dawn reported.
The letter also explains that the procedure for the exhumation of bodies is detailed in the rules and says that the directions were given by the senior joint director
medical, Civil Aviation Authority at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport through the deputy commissioner.
Durrani told the daily that sending the letter was part of the standard operating procedures and was routine in all air crash investigations.
PIMS Administrator Altaf Hussein said he received the letter yesterday and that the hospital administration already has samples from the crew members which can be used to test for drugs. “This will be done after orders are received from the deputy commissioner as orders of exhuming a body can only be given by him,” he said.