In a mayday call made moments before the disaster, the pilot reported that a fuel tank had caught fire and the plane was out of control.
He asked controllers at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto international airport for help as he prepared for an emergency landing, saying he could see the roofs of homes but not the runway.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the aircraft had been properly positioned as it began its approach, but suddenly descended to 200 feet while still flying at 300 miles an hour. It then descended 50 feet more before its tanks exploded.
Given the violent storm lashing Islamabad during the accident, some experts have speculated that ”wind shear”,’ sudden changes in wind that can lift or smash an aircraft into the ground during landing, may have been a factor.