A Pakistan Army aviation helicopter – which was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan – went missing after it lost contact with air traffic control (ATC), the military said in a statement on Monday.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said as many as six individuals were on board including Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan.
“Search operation is underway,” it added.
A Pakistan army aviation helicopter which was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan lost contact with ATC. 6 individuals were on board including Commander 12 Corps who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan. Search operation is underway.DTF
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 1, 2022
The armed forces teams’ rescue and relief operations were underway across the country including in the flood-hit areas of Balochistan as the province’s death toll from devastating floods rose to 149 including 46 children on Monday.
According to a report released by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, a total of 13,535 houses have collapsed or are partially damaged due to the ongoing heavy rains and floods.
The rains and flood have also severely affected six highways covering 640 kilometres.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reviewed relief efforts in Balochistan and ordered authorities to distribute compensation money to those affected by the floods within 24 hours.
During his day-long visit to the provincial capital, the premier talked with the media following a visit to the camps set up for the flood affectees and expressed regret over the lack of basic facilities, including food and water, being provided to the victims of the recent flooding.
The premier also issued the directive during his visit to the tent city set up in the Khusnob area of Qila Saifullah district to accommodate the flood-affected people.
Prayers pour in
Premier Shehbaz expressed concerns over the disappearance of the military helicopter.
“The entire nation is praying to Allah Almighty for the safety, security and return of these sons of the country who were out to help the flood victims,” the premier wrote on his official Twitter handle.
بلوچستان سے آرمی ایوی ایشن کے ہیلی کاپٹر کی گمشدگی تشویشناک ہے۔ پوری قوم اللہ تعالیٰ کے حضور سیلاب متاثرین کی مدد پر نکلنے والے وطن کے ان بیٹوں کی سلامتی، حفاظت اور بخیریت واپسی کے لئے دعا گو ہے۔ ان شاءاللہ
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 1, 2022
Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in a tweet said: “Disturbing news of army aviation helicopter missing and praying for all those on board.”
Disturbing news of army aviation helicopter missing and praying for all those on board.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 1, 2022
“The whole nation is worried about the news of the disappearance of the army aviation helicopter. We pray to Allah that all the travellers are safe,” former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
آرمی ایوی ایشن کے ہیلی کاپٹر کی گمشدگی کی خبر سے پوری قوم پریشان ہے۔ اللہ تعالیٰ سے دعا ھے کہ تمام مسافر بخیریت ہوں ۔ انشاءاللہ
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) August 1, 2022
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also prayed for the safety and recovery of the army officials, saying he has a brotherly bond with Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali.
بلوچستان میں ہیلی کاپٹر حادثے پر دل بہت اداس ہے خدا پانچوں آفیسرز کو اپنی حفاظت میں رکھے ، کور کمانڈر جنرل سرفراز سے بالکل بھائیوں والا تعلق ہے خدا مہربانی اور رحم کرے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 1, 2022
Other politicians, government officials and people belonging to different walks of life echoed the same sentiments and prayed for the safety and early recovery of the military officers.
(This is a breaking story. More details will follow shortly. Please refresh the page for the updated version)