(Edited from AP, Islamabad) A passenger jet that officials suspect veered off course in monsoon rains and thick clouds crashed into hills overlooking Pakistan’s capital Wednesday, killing all 152 people on board and scattering body parts and twisted metal far and wide.

The Airblue jet’s crash was the deadliest ever in Pakistan, and just the latest tragedy to jolt a country that has suffered numerous deaths in recent years due to al-Qaida and Taliban attacks. At least two U.S. citizens were on the plane, which carried mostly Pakistanis.

(Edited from AP, Islamabad) A passenger jet that officials suspect veered off course in monsoon rains and thick clouds crashed into hills overlooking Pakistan’s capital Wednesday, killing all 152 people on board and scattering body parts and twisted metal far and wide.

The Airblue jet’s crash was the deadliest ever in Pakistan, and just the latest tragedy to jolt a country that has suffered numerous deaths in recent years due to al-Qaida and Taliban attacks. At least two U.S. citizens were on the plane, which carried mostly Pakistanis.

The plane left the southern city of Karachi at 7:45 a.m. for a two-hour flight to Islamabad and was trying to land when it lost contact with the control tower, said Pervez George, a civil aviation official. Airblue is a private airline based in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

The aircraft, an Airbus A321, crashed some 15 kilometers from the airport, scorching a wide stretch of the Margalla Hills, including a section behind Faisal Mosque, one of Islamabad’s most prominent landmarks. Twisted metal wreckage hung from trees and lay scattered across the ground. Smoke rose from the scene as helicopters hovered.

The exact cause of the crash was not immediately clear, and rescue workers were seeking the “black box” flight data recorder amid the wreckage. But Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said the government did not suspect terrorism.

Rescue workers and citizen volunteers were hampered by the rain, mud and rugged terrain. The crash was so severe it would have been nearly impossible for any of the 146 passengers and six crew members to survive, rescue officials said.

The Pakistan Airline Pilot Association said the plane may have strayed off course, possibly because of the poor weather. Several officials noted the plane seemed to be an unusual distance from the airport, which was some 9 1/2 miles (15 kilometers) away.

Airbus said it would provide technical assistance to the crash investigators. The aircraft was initially delivered in 2000, and was leased to Airblue in January 2006. It accumulated about 34,000 flight hours during some 13,500 flights, it said.

The only previous recorded accident for Airblue, a carrier that began flying in 2004, was a tail-strike in May 2008 at Quetta airport by one of the airline’s Airbus 321 jets. There were no casualties and damage was minimal, according to the U.S.-based Aviation Safety Network.

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