Tuesday July 16, 2024

Pakistan Army aviation helicopter goes missing

ISPR says helicopter lost contact with air traffic control, adds 6 important personalities were on board

By Tariq Abul Hasan & Zarmeen Zehra
August 01, 2022
A representation image of a helicopter. — AFP
A representation image of a helicopter. — AFP

KARACHI:  A Pakistan Army aviation helicopter on Monday lost contact with the air traffic control while it was en route from Quetta to Karachi, the Inter-Services Public  Relations tweeted.

The military's media wing, in a tweet, wrote that the helicopter was on flood relief operations in Balochistan's  Lasbela district.

“Search operation is underway,” the ISPR tweeted.

"Six individuals were on board, including Commander 12 Corps who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan," the tweet said, adding that a search operation is underway.

According to Geo News, Corp Commander Quetta Lieutenant General Sarfaraz of Commander 12 Corps, who was supervising the flood relief operations in the province, was also on board.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed concern over the missing Pakistan Army helicopter and has requested the nation to pray for the soldiers.

The civil authorities and the Pakistan Army are currently busy with relief programmes in the province as the heavy rain spell has wreaked havoc there, claiming 147 lives.

According to the details aired by Geo News, Major Syed was the pilot while Major Talha was the co-pilot of the helicopter. The Director-General of Coast Guards Brigadier Amjad, Engineer Brigadier Khalid, and chief naik Mudassir were also onboard.

In the wake of the incident, the district administration said that a helicopter crashed in the vicinity of the Sassi Punnu Shrine, located near the Windar area; however, the ISPR is yet to confirm whether it was the same helicopter.

Local residents say that the helicopter was seen flying low after which it disappeared. Meanwhile, it was reported that the incident took place minutes before sunset (Maghrib prayers).

Deputy Inspector-General Khuzdar Pervez Imrani said that local police teams are also trying to find the helicopter. The area consists of mountain ranges which are creating difficulties in the search operation.

Deputy inspector-general Quetta said that local police teams are also trying to find the helicopter. The area consists of mountain ranges which are creating difficulties in the search operation.

He further said that despite the difficulties caused by the terrain, police teams are trying to search the helicopter on motorcycles as well. A joint rescue operation of police and Frontier Corps has been underway for the last five hours.

PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan also expressed his concern and prayed for the missing.

"Disturbing news of army aviation helicopter missing and praying for all those on board," he tweeted.

President Dr Arif Alvi has also expressed deep concern over the disappearance of the helicopter and prayed for the safety of all those on board.

The same grave concern was expressed by Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as well. He prayed for the safety of all officers of the armed forces aboard the missing helicopter. 

The Commissioner Kalat Division said the search for the missing helicopter is underway. The Levies personnel are assisting the FC and police teams in the search operation, he said. Local people also are helping the teams.

Sassi Pannu is a hilly area 120 kilometres away from Othal, the Commissioner added.

More to follow...