ISLAMABAD - Declaring the TTP claim of hitting the military helicopter as 'bogus', Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the tragic crash occurred due to technical fault in the engine of the ill-fated helicopter in the remote northern area of the country, leaving two ambassadors and five others dead on Friday.

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, while Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink and Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananicz were injured.

The M-17military helicopter crashed while landing at Naltar Bala, a skiing resort 40km from Gilgit, and two young officers of Pakistan Army, Major Altamash and Major Faisal, and Subedar Zakir also embraced Shahadat in the tragic accident.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad Friday night, the foreign secretary said Pakistan Army had arranged top class security for the visitors to Naltar and claims of defunct terrorist organisation, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), about hitting the helicopter are baseless.

He explained that under instructions of the prime minister, Pakistan Army had deployed about 1,000 troops for security purpose and all the surrounding mountain tops were covered by these personnel. The foreign secretary said two of the helicopter landed safely at Naltar and the third one met the accident due to technical fault near the landing site.

He said the prime minister had given permission for trip of about 30 diplomats at the request of Dean of Diplomatic Corps. He said Pakistan Air Force had developed a skiing resort at Naltar and a chair lift there was to be inaugurated by the prime minister in the presence of the members of the diplomatic corps.

Aizaz Ahmed said the idea to arrange the function was to contribute to the development of this beautiful area. Similar trips were arranged in the past as well including those to Skardu, Shigar, North Waziristan and Army Public School in Peshawar.

To a question he said the Chief of Army Staff has constituted an investigation board headed by a Brigadier. Some members of the investigation teams have reached at the site of the tragedy and others were on their way. The Board has started investigations and soon it would become clear as to what happened exactly.

He said black box of the ill-fated helicopter has been recovered. To another question he said the helicopter was commissioned in 2002 and was regularly being serviced. Latest service was carried out just eleven hours before the accident.

Aizaz Chaudhry said presently the priority of the government was to transport dead bodies, injured and other dignitaries back to Islamabad. They could not be airlifted to Islamabad on Friday due to weather problem and arrangements have been made to bring them back today.

He said arrangements have also been made with PIA for transporting mortal remains of the dead to their respective countries with full honour and respect. Pakistani officials would accompany the dead bodies to their respective countries. He said the PM has already announced one day mourning on Saturday (today). The national flag in the country and in Pakistani missions abroad would fly half mast. On a question, the foreign secretary said presently the countries whose ambassadors have been killed are seeking more information, which is being provided to them.

ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa also said that an inquiry board headed by a senior military officer has been constituted to ascertain the cause of crash.

The government of Pakistan has condoled with Ministries of Foreign Affairs, embassies and families of those killed in the copter crash. In a statement, Adviser to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said under instructions of the prime minister best possible treatment is being provided to the injured.