Gilgit Helicopter Crash: Foreign Delegations Arrive to take Home their Deceased
ISLAMABAD: Foreign diplomats from Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines arrived on Sunday to receive bodies of Naltar victims that were flown to Nur Khan base in Rawalpindi a day before, media reported.
A delegation from the Philippines headed by the Under Secretary of Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the spouse and son of the late ambassador, arrived in Islamabad.
The delegation from Malaysia consisting of senior officials and daughter of the Malaysian ambassador also arrived in the federal capital, as well as one from Indonesia.
“A forensic team from Norway also arrived in the capital on the request of the government to assist in DNA sampling,” a Foreign Office statement said.
The team was accompanied by a delegation to receive the late Norwegian ambassador’s body. However, despite earlier reports of the arrival of the widow of the late Norwegian ambassador, she did not come with the delegation.
Norwegian Ambassador Leif H Larsen, Philippines Ambassador Domingo D Lucenario Jr, wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and two pilots – Major Faisal and Major Altamash – as well as a crew member were killed when an Mi-17 helicopter of the Pakistan Army went down shortly before landing in Naltar valley on Friday.
Three other envoys – Poland’s Ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish, Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink and the Indonesian ambassador – were also injured in the incident. According to an official, the Pakistan Army on Saturday airlifted the casualties to Rawalpindi in helicopters and a C-130 aircraft.
“Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink will receive further treatment in his country and an air ambulance will arrive soon to transport him back,” the statement added.
De Vink suffered major burn injuries in the crash.
On Saturday, the prime minister’s office said in a statement that top government officials would accompany the bodies to their countries, “The ministers will take the bodies on special flights as a gesture of respect and to show the importance Pakistan attaches [to] its relations with these countries,” it added.
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