PESHAWAR: A military helicopter crashed near Mansehra district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing all twelve on board, a military source confirmed Thursday evening.
The deceased include Major Humayun (pilot), Major Muzzammil (pilot), Major Dr Shahzad, Major Dr Atif, Major Dr Usman, Havildar Munir Abbasi (flight technician), Havildar Asif (crew chief), Naik Amir Saeed, Naik Maqbool, Sepoy Rehmatullah, Sepoy Waqar and Nursing Ammanullah.
Mansehra District Police Officer Najeebur Rehman had earlier confirmed the incident after initial reports, saying at least nine people had died as a result of the crash, while rescue teams were making efforts to recover dead bodies.
The charred corpses were burnt beyond recognition and the copter was still on fire in the evening, Rehman told AFP.
According to an ISPR official, the helicopter, which was carrying relief items and medicines to Gilgit, had taken off from Chaklala, Rawalpindi.
“There were 12 people on board, all military men. There were doctors, paramedic and aviation people in the helicopter,” a senior military official told Reuters.
He said the helicopter crashed over the mountains in the Mohar area of northern Mansehra district, adding that it appeared bad weather might have caused the crash.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani also confirmed that the crashed helicopter belonged to the army, adding that the site of the crash was a mountainous area, which could hamper rescue efforts.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the helicopter crash near Mansehra.
The premier expressed his condolences over the loss of life in the incident, and commiserated with the families of the deceased on this tragic incident.
The incident is the second fatal crash involving army helicopters this year. In May, an army helicopter crashed in Naltar Valley killing seven people, including three ambassadors.
Ambassador of Philippines Domingo D Lucenario Jr, Ambassador of Norway Leif Larsen and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors were among seven people killed in the helicopter crash in Naltar Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region on May 8, 2015.
Earlier today, a Pakistan Air Force helicopter, engaged in relief and rescue efforts, crashed in the Khot area of upper Chitral, injuring several people.
According to sources, the helicopter was being used to conduct rescue and relief operations in the flood affected district of Chitral.