Helicopter lost control due to technical fault, says Air Chief

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman on Saturday said the helicopter which crashed in Naltar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan had lost control due to mechanical fault moments before landing.

The Air chief speaking to state television said the helicopters behaviour was normal just prior to landing and it suddenly lost control. “Our base commander had eye contact with the helicopter and there was no problem in its behaviour. The helicopter lost control just moments before landing.”

According to Air Chief Marshall Sohail Aman an investigation had started and there would be a detailed analysis of the crash.

The Air chief further said that unfortunate accidents like this did take place as he praised the solidarity shown by the international community in the wake of this tragedy. Shedding light on the horrific outcomes of such crashes, the Air chief said it was by the grace of Allah that there were survivours.

Air Chief Marshall Aman added that the pilots flying the helicopter were ‘proficient and excellent’ and had made several flights in this area.

On May 08, seven people including foreign diplomats were killed when a MI-17 crashed in the Naltar Valley. The Norwegian and Philippine ambassadors were among those who lost their lives as were the spouses of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors.

Two major’s of the Pakistan Army flying the helicopter and a Subedar were also martyred in the horrific crash.

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.