Pakistan: diplomats killed in helicopter crash

Ambassadors of Norway and Philippines killed as helicopter carrying diplomats crashes in Pakistan

At least two foreign ambassadors were among seven people killed in a helicopter crash in Pakistan on Friday.

The ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines, as well as the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and three Pakistani army staff were killed in the crash, according to the Pakistan army’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations.

There were 18 people, including 11 senior diplomats, in the helicopter when it crashed in the northern Gilgit district, a popular skiing destination near the border with China.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the crash, claiming they attacked it thinking Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was aboard the helicopter but the army said the crash was caused by a technical fault. The group is not active in northern Pakistan.

The injured included the Dutch, South African, Malaysian, Indonesian, Australian and Polish envoys to Pakistan.

Sharif called for a day of nationwide mourning after the incident.

In a statement, the Philippine Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of ambassador Domingo D. Lucenario Jr.

“The [ministry] offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of ambassador Lucenario at this time of mourning.”

He is survived by his wife and three children, the statement added.

In Washington D.C., the State Department voiced condolences to the victims and echoed Pakistani claim that the crash was due to a technical fault.