Punjab Rangers helicopter crash in indus river near Layyah of Punjab District
LAYYAH, June 1, 2011 : A helicopter of the Pakistan Rangers, carrying the director general of Rangers Punjab Maj Gen Ahmad Nawaz, caught fire in mid-air over Bakhari Ahmad Khan, some 40km from Layyah city, and crashed into the Indus River, killing the four people on board.
The helicopter was on way to Dera Ismail Khan from Dera Ghazi Khan, but lost contact with the Control Tower at about 10:30am, 10 minutes after the take-off, a Rangers’ official said.
Besides Maj-Gen Ahmad Nawaz, those on board were his ADC and son Capt Asif Nawaz, Pilot Lt-Col Aamir Abbas and Technician Subedar Hidayat.
Despite hectic efforts made by army and the civil administration personnel throughout the day, only one body and some parts of the bodies of other officers could be retrieved by rescuers.
Malik Arshad, a witness, said he had seen the helicopter going on fire in mid-air and then crashing into the river.
After receiving information about the crash, DCO Mushtaq Ahmad Anjum and DPO Chaudhry Muhammad Saleem reached the area accompanied by Civil Defence and Rescue 1122 personnel and launched the rescue operation.
According to an officer of the Irrigation Department, the water flow in the Indus was about 250,000 cusecs, which made the rescue work very difficult. After hectic efforts of three hours, Rescue 1122 personnel succeeded in retrieving one body and some body parts of other passengers and the tail of the helicopter.
A Rangers’ official said the body might be of Capt Asif Nawaz and it had been flown to the CMH, Multan.
Later, four army rescue teams — three from Multan and one of army divers from Mangla Cant — reached the area and took control of the work. The teams used motorboats and their divers plunged into water to find the wreckage of the helicopter.