Bodies of envoys killed in Pakistan crash reach capital

Diplomats killed in helicopter crash honoured at military base as authorities declare day of national mourning.

    Seven people died in the crash including two foreign diplomats, their wives, and three crew [AP]
    Seven people died in the crash including two foreign diplomats, their wives, and three crew [AP]

    The bodies of seven people killed in a Pakistani helicopter crash, including ambassadors from the Philippines and Norway, have arrived at a military base near the capital, Islamabad.

    State-run Pakistan Television on Saturday showed Pakistani officials and the country's army chief General Raheel Sharif saluting the flag-draped coffins of the four foreigners, including the wives of the diplomats and three crew members killed in Friday's crash.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was shown shaking hands with the injured diplomats.

    He also consoled relatives or colleagues of the dead foreigners and crew members who were present at the military base. 

    Twelve people injured in the crash also arrived at the military base outside of Islamabad in a C-130 plane.

    The dead included two pilots, a crew member, Norwegian Ambassador Leif Larsen, Philippines Ambassador Domingo Lucenario Jr and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors to Pakistan. 

    The MI-17 helicopter was carrying 17 people, including 11 foreigners and six Pakistanis when it crashed in the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan, 
    the military's spokesperson, Major-General Asim Bajwa, said.

    Gilgit-Baltistan is about 300km north of Islamabad. 

    Pakistan says a technical failure caused the crash, but the Pakistani Talban issued a statement claiming they had shot down the helicopter with an anti-aircraft missile, something the government later dismissed as an opportunistic attempt to take responsibility for such a high-profile incident.

    Authorities declared Saturday a day of national mourning.

    Aizaz Chaudhry, Pakistan's foreign secretary, told Pakistan Television the bodies of the foreigners would be flown to their countries in the next two or three days and that family members of the dead were coming to Pakistan.

     

    SOURCE: AP


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