WANA, Feb 6: Major General Javed Sultan, the General Officer Commanding for Kohat, two brigadiers and five other military personnel were killed when an army helicopter crashed in South Waziristan Agency on Wednesday.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the chopper crashed because of a technical fault killing the eight military personnel on board.

(The ISPR chief confirmed the death of Maj-Gen Javed, the commanding officer of the Kohat garrison that oversees the hunt for Taliban militants in the tribal belt.

Two brigadiers, one Lt Colonel, one captain, two pilots and a non-commissioned officer were also killed when the Bell 412 transport helicopter crashed in the rugged region, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said.

“I rule out any hostile or any sabotage action in the crash,” he added.

“It was caused by technical malfunctioning but we have not yet been able to determine the nature of the fault.”)

Local people said the helicopter was heading east from Wana when it came down at Tanai in the Ahmadzai Wazir area at about 2.40pm.

Besides Maj-Gen Sultan, the deceased were identified as Brig Afzal Cheema, Brig Saeed Khan, Lt-Col Omar Farooq, Capt Shehzad, Capt Naveed (pilot), Capt Haroon (pilot) and non-commissioned officer Crew Chief Naik Amir.

President Pervez Mushrraf and caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro expressed their deep shock and grief over the deaths of Maj-Gen Javed Sultan and other military personnel.

President Musharraf, in his messages to the bereaved families, termed the deaths of the personnel a great loss of professionals ‘who lost their lives with their boots on’.