Rescuers on Tuesday stepped up the search for a plane carrying 44 people, including one Turkish writer and an aid activist, which crashed in the mountains of northern Afghanistan.
The plane, operated by Pamir Airways, a private Afghan airline, was traveling from Kunduz in northern Afghanistan to Kabul when it crashed Monday. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane when it was about 55 miles (85 kilometers) north of Kabul, prompting rescue workers to rush to the Salang Pass, a major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital to the north.
Bahattin Yildiz, a World Bulletin writer, went to Afghanistan for a humanitarian project to help orphans. Got involved personally with the problems in Afghanistan for years, Yildiz were reported to go to Afghanistan from Germany that he lived temporarily.
The Foundation For Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) said Monday IHH Asia Representative Faruk Aktas and an IHH volunteer Bahattin Yildiz were in the Afghan passenger jet that crashed on Monday. And also a Turk named Mustafa Cebil is said to be among the passengers.
In a statement issued Monday, the IHH said that Aktas and Yildiz were in the region to open a children's home.
Yildiz was born in Sivas in 1956 and married with five children. Aktas was born in Igdir in 1974. He was married with one child.
Over 24 hours after the plane lost radio contact over the treacherous Hindu Kush mountains, the prospect of finding survivors appeared difficult as anguished relatives massed at the foot of the mountain-pass near Salang.
Aerial searches by the Afghan government and the international coalition, hampered by dense fog and darkness Monday night, resumed at dawn.
"Right now, we are looking to identify the location of the crash," President Hamid Karzai said at a news conference.
"In some areas, the bad weather — snow, rain and fog — will not let us do the search. We're very hopeful that we will able to find the victims of the crash soon and hand the bodies over to their families."
Small bands of civilians fanned out on foot up the rocky mountain trails in a desperate search for clues as pilots flew in and out of billowy clouds in hopes of spotting signs of the wreckage.
Afghan aviation, transportation and other government officials who traveled to the Salang Pass said rugged terrain made the search for the plane difficult and nearly impossible to do on foot.
According to its website, Pamir Airways was founded in May 1995 and is the oldest private airline in Afghanistan.
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