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Crashed helicopter was fully airworthy: Pakistan Army

Islamabad : The Pakistan Army has said that the Mi-17 helicopter which crashed on Friday killing two foreign envoys was fully airworthy.

“The crash occurred after 11 hours of flying following regular servicing,” Dawn online quoted a military official as saying.

The Mi-17 helicopter crash-landed on a school in Naltar valley near Gilgit Baltistan. It was carrying 17 people – 11 foreigners and six Pakistanis.

Among the victims were Ambassadors Domingo D. Lucinerio Jr. of the Philippines and Leif Larsen of Norway and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors — and three Pakistanis — two pilots and one crew member. Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink and Polish Ambassador Andrzej Ananicz were injured in the incident.

The ill-fated chopper had been in service of Pakistan Army Aviation since 2002.

The army’s aviation wing had started using the Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters in the late 1990s and are considered reliable workhorses.

The fleet had been stressed because of the excessive use of these helicopters in counter-terrorism operations.