Martyrdom of six officers confirmed as ISPR says wreckage of missing copter found

Wreckage of unfortunate helicopter which was on flood relief operations has been found in Lasbela, says ISPR


Our Correspondent August 02, 2022
All four civilian employees on board died in the crash, the outlet added. Photo: Anadolu Agency/File

KARACHI:

The wreckage of a military helicopter that went missing Monday night has been found in a coastal district of Balochistan and none of the six officers and crew on board has survived the crash, the military’s media wing said on Tuesday.

Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, Major General Amjad Hanif, Brigadier Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major M Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz were on board the Mi-17 helicopter of Army Aviation.

Lt Gen Ali was supervising relief operations in Balochistan, which has been hit hard by flash floods triggered by the heavy monsoon rains in the province.

“The wreckage of the unfortunate helicopter which was on flood relief operations has been found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela [district of Balochistan],” DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar wrote on his verified Twitter handle.

“All six officers and soldiers, including Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali embraced shahadat [martyrdom],” it added in the tweet. “As per initial investigations, the accident occurred due to bad weather.”

The helicopter went missing after losing contact with the air traffic control on Monday. The military mounted a search operation which was stymied by the difficult mountainous terrain of Lasbela district.

Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali was one of the brilliant officers of Pakistan Army. He held the most prestigious positions within the army during his illustrious career. He was a decorated officer who twice got Tamgha Basalat during the war on terrorism.

He also served as instructor in the Command and Staff College, Commander 111 Brigade, Director General Military Intelligence, and IGFC Balochistan in the most challenging times.

Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali, who hailed from Lahore, is survived by his wife, a daughter and three sons. He was commissioned in 6 Azad Kashmir Regiment in March 1989 and served for 33 years in Pakistan Army.

Maj Gen Amjad Hanif was the Director General of Pakistan Coast Guard. A native of Rawalakot, AJK, he was commissioned in 19 Azad Kashmir Regiment in April 1994 and served for 29 years in Pakistan Army. He is survived by one daughter and two sons.

Brig Khalid was Commander Engineers 12 Corps. He ensured clearance of landmines and other such improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the erstwhile tribal regions during Operation Zarb-e-Azan. Being from the Corps of Engineers, he was now leading the entire rescue and relief operation in flood-hit Balochistan.

Brig Khalid, a native of Faisalabad, was commissioned in 20 Engineer Battalion in 1994 and served for 29 years in Pakistan Army. He has three daughters and as many sons.

Among other crew were Major Saeed Ahmed (Pilot), who is survived by his wife, one son and one daughter, belonged to Larkana district of Sindh. Major Muhammad Talha Manan (Co-Pilot) has left behind his wife and two sons. Crew Chief Naik Mudassir Fayyaz was also a married man belonging to Narowal district.

President calls COAS

President Arif Alvi paid tributes to the martyrs for their services for the country and nation and said that “the sons of soil”, who were busy in flood relief activities in Balochistan, embraced martyrdom while serving the nation with utmost devotion. “These sons equipped with the spirit of selfless service are the nation’s benefactors,” he stressed.

During a telephone conversation with army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the president recalled his meeting with Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali during his last visit to Gwadar and the briefing given to him by the corps commander.

During the briefing, President Alvi said, he found Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali a competent, intelligent and dutiful officer. The army chief told the president that the low visibility due to bad weather during the flood relief activities caused the helicopter crash.

Read: Copter with army general on board goes missing

The president told the COAS that he intended to attend the funeral prayers for the martyred and would specially condole with the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the shahadat of the Quetta corps commander and other army officers and soldiers in the unfortunate helicopter accident.

The prime minister said the entire nation saluted the martyrs. He prayed for the high ranks of the departed souls and for the families to bear the losses with equanimity, according to the PM Office.

While expressing his condolences and sympathies with the bereaved families, the prime minister said these sons of the soil were the pride of nation who laid down their lives while saving the countrymen trapped in floods in Balochistan. He said the entire nation was grieving over the gloomy incident.

In a separate tweet, the prime minister said: “The nation is deeply grieved on the martyrdom of Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali and five other officers of Pakistan Army. They were doing a sacred duty of providing relief to the flood affectees. Will remain eternally indebted to these sons of soil. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”

Separately, PTI chief Imran Khan also expressed grief and sorrow over the helicopter tragedy. “Tragic news about the Army Aviation helicopter crash and the martyrdom of all six on board.

My condolences and prayers to the families of the martyrs,” he wrote in a tweet.

“I had the privilege of knowing Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali whom I found to be a thorough professional and an upright, honest human being,” he added.

 

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