Naltar copter crash: Foreign delegations arrive to receive bodies

Remains of two envoys and wives of two ambassadors to be flown out

Peer Muhammad May 11, 2015
Flame and smoke rises from the site where a military helicopter crashed in the northern area of Gilgit on May 8, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: High-level delegations from Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines arrived in the federal capital on Sunday to receive the bodies of their nationals, who died in Friday’s military helicopter crash in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

The ambassadors of the Philippines and Norway, wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian envoys and three officers of the Pakistan Army were killed when an Mi-17 helicopter went down shortly before landing in the scenic Naltar Valley. The bodies were flown to Rawalpindi by the Pakistan Army on Saturday.

According to the Foreign Office, a delegation from the Philippines comprising Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ undersecretary, as well as the spouse and son of the late ambassador Domingo D Lucenario Jr, arrived in Islamabad on Sunday.

Another delegation from Malaysia, comprising senior officials and the daughter and son-in-law of the Malaysian Ambassador Hasrul Sani Mujtabar, also arrived in the federal capital, followed by a delegation from Indonesia.

Moreover, a forensic team from Norway also reached the capital on the request of the government to assist with the DNA sampling, said the Foreign Office. The team is accompanied by a delegation to receive the mortal remains of the late Norwegian ambassador Leif H Larsen.

Special Secretary Amjad Hussain B Sial held separate meetings with the delegations. Matters relating to medical treatment of the injured envoys and transportation of the remains of the deceased to their home countries were discussed in detail. The delegations from the Netherlands and Norway also had meetings with Sial.

The delegations were assured that the Pakistan government was providing all possible medical facilities to the injured, and arrangements were being made to transport the mortal remains at the soonest possible.

Sources in the Foreign Office said it would take one to two days to complete the procedure for making special arrangements to dispatch the bodies of the diplomats to their respective countries after their DNA tests.

Senior Pakistani officials, led by federal ministers, will also accompany the bodies to their respective countries by special flights as a gesture of respect and to show the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with these countries.

Three other envoys – Poland’s Ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish, Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink and the Indonesian ambassador – were also injured in the tragic crash and were brought to Rawalpindi in a C-130 on Saturday.

The ambassadors of Indonesia and the Netherlands, who received burn injuries, were later moved to the Special Burns Unit in Kharian while the Malaysian envoy and the ambassador of Poland and his wife were being treated at a local hospital.

The Foreign Office said Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink will receive further treatment in his country and an air ambulance will arrive soon to transport him back.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2015. 


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