Norway, Philippines envoys among seven killed in Gilgit helicopter crash


GILGIT: Ambassadors of Philippines and Norway and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors were killed in a helicopter crash in Naltar Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Asim Bajwa said in a tweet on Friday.


Two pilots were also killed when the Pakistan Army helicopter crash-landed on a school in Naltar Valley. Media reports identified the two pilots as Major Altamash and Major Faisal. Injuries were also reported from the incident in which the Polish and Dutch ambassadors were wounded.

The injured have been taken to the emergency ward of the Combined Military Hospital in Gilgit, hospital officials said.

Earlier, in a series of tweets, Bajwa said that six Pakistanis and 11 foreigners were on board the MI-17 helicopter.

The convoy of three helicopters was carrying a delegation of foreign diplomats and their aides to Gilgit-Baltistan.

“It was a diplomatic trip with members of 37 countries in total,” said a passenger in one of the helicopters, who requested anonymity, adding that the school had caught fire after the crash.

“We have been told to send in as many ambulances as we can because the situation there is ‘urgent’,” said a senior official.

The injured were being air-lifted to the military hospital in Gilgit, added another senior local police official.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was travelling to Gilgit on a separate aircraft to launch two projects when the accident happened. He returned to Islamabad, his office said.

President Mamnoon Hussain and PM Nawaz have expressed grief and sorrow over the incident, said a report published on Radio Pakistan.