Ambassadors of Philippine and Norway among victims of Naltar chopper crash

Final update at 01:48 PST

Gilgit: A gloomy day comes to an end in Gilgit-Baltistan, the region that witnessed and felt the tragedy of important state guests and ambassadors, diplomatic staff and their family members from various countries getting killed or injured during the horrific chopper accident.  Brushing aside the questions of any involvement of terrorism, the army and senior civilian leadership said that the chopper had an accident due to a technical fault. A detailed report in this regard will be prepared, as per the set procedures.

Sartaj Aziz, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs has told the media that has a Crisis Management Cell (CMC) has been established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The CMC can be reached through Tel: +92-51-9217828 & +92-51-90569161 or, cmcmofa@gmail.com

The ISPR maintained that the death toll is 7, including four foreigners and three Pakistanis. Ambassadors of Norway and Phillipines, and wives of the ambassador of Malaysia and Indonesia were among the deceased. The other three include two pilot of the Pak ARmy Aviation and a technical staff on board the chopper. However, some local sources have reported at least 9 deaths. The ambassadors of Poland and Holland are among the six injured under treatment at the CMH Gilgit.

Pakistan has declared a day of mourning after the air crash involving foreign diplomats.

H.E. Leif H. Larsen was Norway’s Ambassador to Pakistan, while H.E. Domingo D. Lucenario Jr. was the ambassador of Philippines. Photo: Embassy Websites

The ambassadors, diplomatic staff from 29 countries, and their families, were going to Naltar to attend the opening ceremony of a chair-lift that has recently been installed in the region. The diplomats were invited to attend the opening ceremony while they were on a four-day tour of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Express Tribune newspaper has posted this photograph of the burning chopper
Express Tribune newspaper has posted this photograph of the burning chopper

They were planning to land in Hunza tomorrow. The Hunza-Nagar district administration had held a meeting yesterday to review the preparations for the visit of the envoys. The visit was part of efforts to bolster tourism in the region.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was also scheduled to visit the Naltar Valley and Gilgit-Baltistan reigon, has cancelled his tour of Gilgit after the air disaster. He has expressed shock over the incident and conveyed condolences to families of the deceased. He has also directed the regional authorities to utilize all available resources to treat the injured.

ISPR has said that 13 people have survived with varying degrees of injuries. It had also confirmed that 17 people, including 11 foreigners, were traveling in the chopper.

President Mamnoon Hussain has said that the government and people of Pakistan are deeply saddened over the tragic death of foreigners in the unfortunate incident, according to Radio Pakistan.

The Govern of Gilgit-Baltistan has expressed deep sorrow over the death.

The injured people have been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Gilgit. An Army colonel is said to be among the injured. A state of emergency has been imposed in the CMH.

The ISPR has further said that this is this third crash landing by an MI-17 chopper

With inputs by Abdul Rehman Bukhari and others. File photo in display

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