Pakistan helicopter crash kills 12 including 5 majors

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MANSEHRA, Aug 6:  At least 12 servicemen including two pilots have reportedly been killed after a military helicopter crashed here.
“The chopper accident was reported from Mohar Lassan area of the Mansehra District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. We can confirm nine fatal casualties,” DPO Mansehra.
According to latest reports, Pakistan Army Aviation’s  Mi17 transport helicopter, which was on its way from Rawalpindi to Chitral on a rescue mission, crashed into a field in the hilly district of Mansehra after a violent tailspin.
Confirming the accident, the military sources said that pilots Major Humayon Tipu, Major Muzammil, Maj Dr Usman, Dr Maj Shehzad, Captain Atif, Lance Naik Maqbool, Lance Naik Amir Saeed, Sepoy Waqar, Havaldar Munir Abbas, Havaldar Asif, Sepoy Rehmatullah,  and nursing staff Amanullah had embraced martyrdom in the tragic accident.
At least right bodies were recovered from the site of the accident, said senior police official Nujeebur Rehman.
The charred corpses were burnt beyond recognition and the aircraft, which was carrying aid supplies, was still on fire in the evening, he added.
“An army helicopter carrying relief items crashed around 35 kilometres (around 22 miles) northwest of Mansehra this evening. Eight dead bodies have been found,” Rehman told AFP.
“The accident occurred in a hilly area that is not easily accessible — the helicopter is still on fire,” he said.
An official of the military’s media wing confirmed the incident, adding that the helicopter was carrying relief items and medicines to the northern city of Gilgit.
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.
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.
Pakistan saw a similar aviation accident in May when a military helicopter crashed in a remote northern valley, killing seven people including the Norwegian and Philippine envoys.
The helicopter was one of three carrying a delegation of ambassadors to inspect projects on a three-day trip to Gilgit-Baltistan where they were set to meet with Sharif.
The military and Pakistan’s foreign office had said the crash was due to a technical fault while landing.

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