Six people including an army general were killed in Pakistan when the helicopter they were in crashed.
The wreckage of the helicopter was found near Musa Goth in the Lasbela district on Tuesday, according to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). It had gone missing last night in Balochistan in southwest Pakistan.
The personnel inside the chopper included Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, the commander of the south Pakistan-based 12 Corps. Ali was supervising a flood relief operation in Musa Goth in Lasbela Balochistan when the helicopter lost contact with air traffic controllers.
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces said in a tweet that the wreckage of the “unfortunate” helicopter “which was on flood relief ops” was found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. It said that all six officers on board “embraced shahadat [martydom]”.
The spokesperson said that the chopper crashed “due to bad weather as per initial investigations”.
Many army personnel including several helicopters have been involved in flood relief operations in flood-hit districts of Balochistan for weeks now.
According to the National Disaster and Management Authority, rains and flash floods have killed 478 people across the country since June. It is reported that nearly 37,000 homes have either been damaged or completely destroyed in the flood-hit areas.
The wreckage of unfortunate hel which was on flood relief ops found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. All 6 offrs & sldrs incl Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali embraced shahadat. اِنّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
Accident occurred due to bad weather as per initial investigations . DTF pic.twitter.com/dnyano2vqC
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 2, 2022
Pakistan’s Dawn quoted police sources as saying that the area where the helicopter had gone missing is mountainous and was even difficult for rescue teams since there are no proper roads or jeep paths.
The official was quoted as saying: “Either you go on foot or motorcycles or conduct aerial surveillance.”
Tragic news about the army aviation helicopter crash & the martyrdom of all six on board. My condolences & prayers to the families of the martyrs. I had the privilege of knowing Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali whom I found to be a thorough professional & an upright, honest human being.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 2, 2022
After ISPR tweeted about the death of the six officers, tributes started pouring in. Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that the nation was “deeply grieved by the martyrdom of Lt General Sarfraz Ali and 5 other officers of the Pakistan Army”.
He added: “They were doing a sacred duty of providing relief to flood affectees. Will remain eternally indebted to these sons of the soil. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families!”
Nation is deeply grieved on the martyrdom of Lt. General Sarfraz Ali & 5 other officers of Pakistan Army. They were doing a sacred duty of providing relief to flood affectees. Will remain eternally indebted to these sons of soil. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 2, 2022
Former prime minister Imran Khan also expressed his condolences. He wrote: “Tragic news about the army aviation helicopter crash & the martyrdom of all six on board. My condolences & prayers to the families of the martyrs” adding that “I had the privilege of knowing Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali whom I found to be a thorough professional & an upright, honest human being.”
Meanwhile, the chief minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, called the crash “unbelievable”.
“All the people in the helicopter are the asset of the country and the pride of the nation”, he said, adding that “the people of Balochistan salute the martyrs”.