Foreign secretary rules out terrorism in Gilgit helicopter crash

ISLAMABAD: Ruling out the possibility of any terrorist activity, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry on Friday said the helicopter crash in Gilgit’s Naltar Valley happened due to engine failure.

Speaking at a press briefing, he extended the government’s condolences over the sad demise of foreign dignitaries in the incident. He said the trip was of a diplomatic nature to highlight development activities in the region.

Ambassadors of Philippines (H.E. Domingo D. Lucenario Jr) and Norway (H.E. Leif Larsen) were among at least seven people killed when a MI-17 helicopter crashed in Naltar earlier in the day.

Read here: Philippines, Norway Ambassadors among 7 killed in Gilgit helicopter crash

Chaudhry went on to say that the black box of the helicopter has been recovered and an initial investigation is launched.

The foreign secretary said that out of total 19 onboard the helicopter, 12 were foreign dignitaries besides two pilots and five crew members.

“PM Nawaz wanted to visit the crash site, but his presence would have required strict security measures, hence he cancelled his trip,” he said referring to the premier’s scheduled trip to Naltar.

He reiterated the government’s resolve to bring back the dead bodies to Islamabad at the earliest, saying a C-130 has been sent to Gilgit.

However, due to bad weather, the operation has been delayed till Saturday, he added.