Army copter crash kills 12 (Pakistan Observer)

Five army Majors including three senior doctors of Army Medical Corps were among 12 killed in the Army helicopter crash near Lassan Nawab, a valley about 32 kilometers from Mansehra on Thursday afternoon. The MI-17 helicopter was on medical evacuation mission and was heading from Rawalpindi to Gilgit carrying doctors, medical staff, relief items and medicines for the flood affectees. The tragic incident is said to have taken place due to rough weather.

At least 12 Army personnel, including five Majors, were martyred in the Army Aviation MI17 helicopter crash near Lassan Nawab area of Mansehra on Thursday evening, District Police Officer Najeeb-ur-Rehman said quoting the locals who claimed that the charred corpses were burnt beyond recognition and the aircraft, which was carrying aid supplies, was still on fire in the evening.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mansehra, Aamir Khattak said Emergency has been declared in all the hospitals in Mansehra and Abbottabad as the rescue teams evacuated the dead bodies and Army teams started investigations in to the incident.

The martyrs of the tragic crash included Major Muzammil (pilot), Major Humayun (pilot), Major Dr. Shahzad (Anaesthetist ), Captain Dr. Atif (Surgeon ), Major Dr. Usman (Pulmonologist ), Havaldar Munir Abbasi, Nursing Assistant Amanullah, Naik Amir Saeed, Naik OT Maqbool, Sepoy Rehmat-ullah and Sepoy Waqar.

Major Muzammil was son-in-law of former prime minister Pervaiz Ashraf. There were 12 military men with doctors, paramedic and aviation people on board, a senior military official said.

ISPR confirming the incident said the helicopter was carrying relief items and medicines for flood affectees to Gilgit. At least right bodies were recovered from he site of the accident, said senior police official Nujeebur Rehman. The accident occurred in a hilly area that is not easily accessible , he said.

The accident comes after a helicopter of the Pakistan air force crashed in the flood-hit district of Chitral, although no causalities were reported.

The Russian-built Mi-17, used by air forces across the world, has had a patchy safety record in recent years. According to official sources, helicopter caught fire during its flight while the crash took place at 1800 hours.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident took place due to helicopter crashing in the mountains. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani also confirmed that the crashed helicopter belonged to the army, adding that the site of the crash was a mountainous area, which could hamper rescue efforts.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif commiserated with the families of the deceased on this tragic incident. The premier expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in the incident, and commiserated with the families of the deceased on this tragic incident.

The Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan has also expressed his deep sense of shock over the tragic incident and sympathized with the bereaved families over the Shahadat of their dearer and nearer ones.

Mansehra is a major stop for tourists on the Karakoram Highway which leads to China. It is also a major transit point to the northern areas and locations such as the Kaghan Valley, Naran, Shogran, Lake Saiful Mulook and Babusar Top. The incident is the second fatal crash involving army helicopters this year. In May, an army helicopter crash in Naltar Valley killed seven people, including three ambassadors.

Ambassador of Philippines Domingo D Lucenario Jr, Ambassador of Norway Leif Larsen and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors were among seven people killed in the helicopter crash in Naltar Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region on May 8, 2015.

The helicopter was one of three carrying a delegation of ambassadors to inspect projects on a three-day trip to GilgitBaltistan where they were set to meet with Sharif.