Twelve people were injured when a United Nations (UN) helicopter crashed into the Manchhar Lake on Friday.
The injured were identified as Steward, Young Chi, Sina Chi, Garry Duey, Petro Sergei, Victory, Macloon, Ali Yahya, Ali Gul, Zubair Khokhar, Safeer Baig and Salman.
According to the ISPR, the helicopter - which was being used by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) for rescue and relief operations in Dadu - was forced to carry out an emergency landing near the Lachi village in Johi after it developed a technical fault in its engine.
The Pakistan Army initiated the rescue immediately after receiving news of the incident while General Officer Commanding (GOC) Hyderabad Major General Shaukat Iqbal also reached the crash site to ensure that the injured were provided with proper medical facilities.
The injured, who included six volunteer workers from the WFP, were first taken to a Chinese field hospital in Sehwan. They were later shifted to a hospital in Nawabshah and were finally taken to Karachi for treatment. No casualties were reported in the incident. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)’s Brigadier Sajid Naeem, the WFP had chartered the MI-8 helicopter from Russia and was headed to Dadu from Nawabshah on one of its regular journeys when the incident took place.
According to PIA, the incident took place at 8:40 am. The helicopter was flying at a low altitude. Two members, one each of PIA’s Emergency Response staff and of the PIA Boy Scouts were in the helicopter. Both members - Zubair and Safeer - are safe.
PIA’s Emergency Response staff and PIA Boy Scouts are collaborating with the United Nations World Food Programme to distribute food boxes which are being delivered by WFP helicopters. For the last four weeks, 35,000 kilogrammes of relief goods and boxes were delivered from Karachi with the support of PIA volunteers. The base for operations has now shifted to Hyderabad, a PIA spokesman added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2010.
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