Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part of northern Pakistan killing six people including the Philippine and Norwegian ambassadors.

It crashed during an emergency landing in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory.

The wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian envoys and two Pakistani pilots also died. They were to attend the opening of a tourism project.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said they were behind the attack, but there is no confirmation of the claim.

Analysis: M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

This is one of the most tragic aviation disasters for the Pakistani military in decades. The last time one of its air crashes killed a foreign diplomat was in 1988 when a C-130, carrying then military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq, US Ambassador Arnold Raphel and several of the army top brass, crashed in southern Pakistan, killing all on board.
The diplomats flying in the ill-fated MI-17 on Friday were headed for a little advertised but extremely exciting inauguration ceremony of a ski chairlift, built in the breathtaking resort of Naltar, in northern Pakistan.
The 180-seat lift was donated by Switzerland and installed by the Pakistan Air Force. Its test run was completed in August, but its formal opening was delayed several times due to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s preoccupations elsewhere.
Today Mr Sharif flew to within 40km of Naltar valley, but just then the news of the crash came and he had to turn back without touching down at the regional airport in Gilgit.

“The helicopter was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile,” a statement emailed by Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.

However military spokesman Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that the crash had been caused by a technical fault. The area is not a stronghold of the Taliban.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32653359

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