• Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

    • 8 May 2015

  • From the sectionAsia

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    Footage showed the scene of the crash, as the BBC's Shahzeb Jilliani reports

    An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part of northern Pakistan, killing seven 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, two pilots and a crew member also died. They were to attend the opening of a tourism project.Two senior Pakistani ministers said the crash was down to a technical fault.Earlier, the Pakistani Taliban said they were behind the attack.But Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, and Foreign Minister Azez Chaudhury said there appeared to have been technical problems with the helicopter.

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    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 Zia ul-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 the inauguration 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 (25 miles) 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.

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    The area is not a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). The militant group earlier issued a statement saying they had shot down the helicopter with an anti-aircraft missile, intending to kill the prime minister.

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    Military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a Twitter post that Norwegian envoy Leif Larsen and Domingo Lucenario of the Philippines had been killed.