Punjab Rangers DG feared dead in chopper crash | Pakistan Today

Punjab Rangers DG feared dead in chopper crash

A military helicopter caught fire in midair and crashed into the Indus River on Wednesday, killing Punjab Rangers Director General (DG) Major General Muhammad Nawaz, his aide-de-camp and son Captain Asif Nawaz, the pilot Lt Col Amir Abbas and technician Subedar Ibadullah, all of whom were on board. A Punjab Rangers spokesman said the chopper was headed towards Kashmore from Dera Ghazi Khan but had to change course towards Multan because of bad weather. On the way to Multan, while flying over the Indus River near Kot Sultan District Layyah, the pilot lost control of the helicopter because of turbulent weather and it crashed into the river below, the spokesman said.
He said, however, that though all on board were feared dead, their death could not be confirmed without identification and the completion of a search and rescue operation, which was currently underway, the rescuers having recovered one body so far. He said he could not confirm the death of the DG and his son because the recovered body had not been identified yet. Other reports said, however, that two bodies had been recovered so far and one of them had been identified as Asif and flown to the Multan CMH. The helicopter had caught fire before crashing into the Indus River, Layyah DPO Akhtar Saleem said.
Military officials have not ruled out sabotage and in order to support their point of view, they said Maj Gen Nawaz had served in divisions that were in the grip of militancy. They said he was posted as the general officer commanding (GOC) of Dera Ismail Khan, so was directly responsible for dealing with it. According to them, the area through which the helicopter was flying was also dangerous. The helicopter, they said, was an American-made Bell 206, considered very safe and highly unlikely to catch on fire. They said it was quite strange that the pilot was not aware of adverse weather conditions before flying. However, the helicopter had lost contact with the control tower at about 10.20am, when it was forced to alter its course as a result of bad weather.
In its last contact with the tower, the helicopter had forwarded SOS signals and the last conversation with the control tower also suggested that the incident was a result of bad weather conditions. The pilot was being assisted by the technician and although the precise cause of the crash is being investigated, it appears to have been a technical malfunction as well as adverse weather conditions.
Maj Gen Nawaz was born in 1957 in Chak No 126 JB, located in District Chiniot and was commissioned in year 1980 through the 61-PMA Long Course. He joined the 14th Unit of Frontier Force as a second lieutenant. During his tenure, he served on various important posts of Pakistan Army and also served as military attaché to Pakistan in Iran and Saudi Arabia. He also served as the GOC of Okara and Dera Ismail Khan before taking charge of Pakistan Rangers some five months ago.
He had been actively involved in flood rehabilitation and reconstruction of houses in flood-hit areas. He was also awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the government for his services. Maj Gen Nawaz is survived by his wife and three of his children, his eldest son having died in the crash with him. His two daughters Nida and Sadaf are doctors, while his youngest son Tanzeel is also in the army. According to the Rangers spokesman, Captain Asif Nawaz was commissioned in 2007 and joined the same unit that his father had joined in 1980. The spokesman said that the pilot, Lt Col Amir Abbas, belonged to Army Aviation and had been serving as the DG’s pilot since 2008. Immediately after the accident, Rangers officials tightened security at the residence of the late DG and deployed an extra squad around the house.

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One Comment;

  1. @DrImranKhan said:

    This seems like pure sabotage due to the fire starting on the chopper. Seems like someone in the helicopter maintenance staff is involved and provided the pilot with a good weather report and ………………………………………………………………..

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