Helicopter crashes during Pakistan flood relief efforts
A Pakistani military helicopter has crashed while supporting flood relief efforts near Lasbela, in the country’s southwestern Balochistan province
The helicopter was reported missing on the evening of Monday 1 August while monitoring flood relief operations, after it lost contact with the regional control tower.
The aircraft, believed to be a Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil, was carrying six people onboard during its last flight, including Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, Commander of the 12 Corps; Major General Amjad Hanif Satti; pilot Major Saeed; Co-pilot Major Talha; and two other unnamed crew members. All six passengers were later confirmed to have been killed, according to a report by Reuters.
Local authorities struggled to carry out an overnight search and rescue operation to retrieve the helicopter, with the operation facing difficulties due to the region’s rugged, mountainous terrain.
In a statement, the military said that ‘the accident occurred due to bad weather’, however further details are unknown at the present time.
Southern Pakistan has been experiencing unusually intense monsoon rains and resultant floods. The severe weather has killed 478 people and destroyed or damaged 36,500 homes in the country since mid-June. Balochistan being the hardest affected region, reporting almost 30 per cent (136) of total deaths due to the disaster. In response to the crisis, the Pakistani military has been mobilizing its personnel and assets to assist civilian relief operations in the province, including support for evacuations and relief deliveries.
In Idaho, a Chinook helicopter conducting firefighting operations crashed in Idaho on 21 July, killing two the two pilots onboard.