Pakistan Army’s top commander among six martyred as helicopter crashes in restive Balochistan

ISLAMABAD – A helicopter of the Pakistan Army carrying six people went missing during flood relief mission in the Lasbela District in Balochistan on Monday.–Photos courtesy ISPR (Twitter)

ISLAMABAD — The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of the Pakistan Army, confirmed on Tuesday that wreckage of an army helicopter on flood relief mission in Balochistan has been found and all six personnel aboard, including Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, have embraced martyrdom.

A helicopter of the Pakistan Army carrying six people went missing during flood relief mission in the Lasbela District in Balochistan on Monday. Its wreckage was found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. According to the ISPR, the helicopter crashed due to bad weather.

The military chopper went missing at 5:30 PM on Monday and lost contact with the air traffic controller shortly afterwards.

The ISPR identified the martyrs as Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, Brig Amjad Hanif, Brig Muhammad Khalid, Maj Saeed Ahmed, Maj M. Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz.

A short video circulating on the internet showed a rescue team of the Pakistan Army at the crash scene collecting bodies of the martyrs. However, there’s no independent confirmation of the video.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and people from different walks of life took to social media to express their grief at the tragic incident and offer their condolences to the grieving families.

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi made a phone call to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and offered his condolences over the tragic death of six army officials in the helicopter crash.

As many parts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab have been hit hard by floods after heavy monsoon rains in the country, the government has called in the armed forces of Pakistan to take part in the rescue and relief operations.

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Heavy rains have broken a 30 years old record in Pakistan. At least 132 people have been killed in Pakistan floods so far and dozens more are feared dead in the submerged areas.

In the past, Pakistan Army helicopters have crashed and these crashes have resulted in huge losses to the country. On May 8, 2015, a Pakistan Army helicopter crashed in Natlar, Gilgit-Baltistan. Eight people died in this incident, including ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines.

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