TARBELA - A military helicopter crashed yesterday near Tarbela killing army officer Lt-Col Tauqeer. The Mi-17 helicopter was on a routine night training flight when it crashed.

Lt-Col Tauqeer is survived by his widow, son and daughter. The family belongs to village Bhatti Gujar in Chakwal district.

In May last year, Ambassador of Philippines Domingo D Lucenario Jr, Ambassador of Norway Leif Larsen and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors were among seven people killed in Mi-17 copter crash in Naltar Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Two pilots and a crew member were also killed when the helicopter crash-landed in a school in Naltar Valley.

Another army helicopter crashed in August the same year near Mansehra district killing all on board. In 2004, an Mi-17 helicopter crashed near Karak in which 13 soldiers were killed. Other copter crashes in country include the 2007 crash near Muzzafarabad on the occasion of inauguration of development projects there, 2009 crash in Kurram Agency in which 41 people were killed; and 2012 crash in Skardu in which five people died.

Except Skardu crash, whose cause is still not known, the rest were said to have been caused because of technical reasons.

The army’s aviation wing has been using Mi-17 transport helicopters since late nineties. They are considered as the army aviation’s reliable workhorses. The fleet had been stressed because of the excessive use of these helicopters in counter-terrorism operations and relief activities. The United States helped Pakistan refurbish and overhaul 22 of the Mi-17s.