RAHIM YAR KHAN: A pilot and an aviation engineer lost their lives when their single-engine plane busy carrying out pesticide spray to eliminate locust crashed in Cholistan, some 65km from here, on Sunday morning.
The aircraft took off from the Sheikh Zayed International Airport at 9.30am and crashed after an hour near Chak 215-P in the Tillu Bangla area in Sadiqabad tehsil.
The deceased, captain pilot Shoaib Malik and aircraft engineer Fawad Khalid Butt, were employees of the Federal Plant Protection Department. They belonged to Lahore.
Rahim Yar Khan Deputy Commissioner Ali Shahzad told Dawn that both died instantaneously. He said initial investigations suggested a technical fault had caused the crash. He said the bodies had been shifted to the Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital.
He said the plane was spraying pesticides in the area on a request of the district administration to tackle another wave of locust attack. He said the aircraft had so far sprayed 1,000 acres of land in Cholistan since Jan 10.
Shehzad said a team of the plant protection department would ascertain the actual cause of the aircraft crash.
In a statement carried by dawn.com, National Food Security and Research Minister Khusro Bakhtiar said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the young men who lost their lives in the line of duty.”
The plane was spraying pesticide in the area to tackle another wave of locust attack, which began in Dec 2019, on the request of the district administration.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020