ISLAMABAD - Expressing profound grief over the death of ambassadors of Philippines and Norway in a helicopter crash in Naltar near Gilgit on Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced one-day national mourning on May 9 (today) over the tragic incident.

The national flag would fly at half mast.

The Prime Minister extended heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased ambassadors and others including spouses of Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and two pilots. The crash also left envoys of Holland and Poland injured.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also talked to his Norwegian counterpart, extending condolences on the sad demise of Norwegian Ambassador in a helicopter crash in Gilgit Baltistan on Friday.

PM Nawaz said the ambassador would be remembered for long and his remains would be sent to Norway as soon as possible. “We’ll do our best to look after the families of the deceased diplomats,” he said.

Nawaz said the entire Pakistani nation is heartbroken on this incident and shares the grief of the Norwegian nation. He conveyed his personal condolences to the family of the deceased ambassador, which the Norwegian PM promised to convey.

The Norwegian PM thanked Nawaz Sharif for his timely efforts and also for the decision of observing a day of mourning.

Meanwhile, Air Commodore Syed Muhammad Ali, Director Media Pakistan Air Force (PAF) told APP that the MI-17 helicopter was taking a delegation of foreign diplomats to Naltar Valley to witness the inauguration of chairlift at PAF's ski resort at Naltar, which was scheduled to be performed by the prime minister.

He said the dignitaries were being flown from Gilgit to Naltar to attend the national-level event under the arrangement made by Foreign Office in coordination with the Pakistan Army.

He said a technical fault in helicopter resulted in its crash and the intense fire caused fatalities.

The prime minister, who was informed about the incident during his flight to Gilgit to perform inauguration of the chairlift project, cancelled the trip and returned to Islamabad.

He directed immediate shifting of the injured to the nearest hospital and provision of best medical treatment to them.

A PM Office statement said arrangements were made to transport bodies to Islamabad.

Foreign Office in a statement said the heads of diplomatic missions of more than 30 countries and their family members as well as some Pakistani dignitaries were flown to Gilgit by a C-130 aircraft.

It said that from Gilgit, the diplomats were taken to Naltar in four helicopters for a three-day excursion trip.

"Such excursion trips are regularly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the Diplomatic Corps," the Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office has also established a crisis management cell (CMC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the tragic incident, with telephone numbers: 51-9217828 and 51-90569161 and email: cmcmofa@gmail.com.