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Six soldiers dead as military helicopter crashes in southwest Pakistan

A Pakistan Army helicopter. (File Photo)

A Pakistani army helicopter crashed during an overnight mission in southwestern Balochistan province, killing all six military personnel on board, the military’s public relations wing said on Monday.

It said all six personnel on board the aircraft, including two pilots, were killed in the crash, which comes weeks after a similar chopper crash in August which claimed six lives, including Quetta Corps commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali.

The deadly accident took place during a “flying mission” near Khost city’s Harnai neighborhood in Balochistan province. No reason has been provided for the crash, pending investigations.

Pakistan's former federal minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry said helicopter flying was getting dangerous and needed engineering evaluation.

"Heli flying is getting dangerous this needs engineering evaluation, too many crashes ...RIP Braveheart's all were too young to die," Chaudhry wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Local media cited sources in the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirming on Monday that six Pakistan Army officials, including two majors, were killed in the helicopter crash.

“All six personnel on board, including two pilots, have embraced shahadat,” the ISPR said, confirming the deaths of 39-year-old Major Khurram Shahzad (pilot), 30-year-old Major Muhammad Muneeb Afzal (pilot), 44-year-old Subedar Abdul Wahid, 27-year-old Sepoy Muhamad Imran, 30-year-old Naik Jalil and 35-year-old Sepoy Shoaib. 

In the past, the Pakistani aviation industry has witnessed numerous air crashes, giving the country a tarnished record in aviation safety.

In August 2022, a military helicopter crashed due to bad weather in flood-hit southwestern Baluchistan province, killing all of the six senior officers on board. ]

In May 2020, an Airbus A320 crashed into a densely populated residential area of Karachi, killing 97 of the 99 passengers on board.

In December 2016, an ATR 42-500 crashed into a hillside near Havelian killing all 47 onboard, including the flight crew.

In November 2015, a Boeing 737-400 carrying 114 passengers from Karachi to Lahore suffered damage in a landing accident at Lahore-Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE).

In May 2015, a military transport helicopter crashed in Naltar, in the Gilgit district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, killing 8 people, including the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines.

In 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Pakistan's Bhoja Air crashed in bad weather on its approach to land in Rawalpindi, killing all 121 passengers and six crew.

In 2010, an aircraft operated by private airline Airblue crashed near Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board - the deadliest air disaster in the country's history.

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