Bucharest, May 8, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Daniel Stroe
Romania’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Raluca Lunculescu today said that the Romanian diplomat aboard a helicopter that crashed in Pakistan earlier in the day was slightly injured; although he was rushed to a hospital in the region, he did not need hospitalization for his injuries and it is now safely in the town of Gilgit.
“Romania’s ambassador to Pakistan, Mr Emilian Ion, was aboard a helicopter that has crashed today in a region in northern Pakistan. He was slightly injured, but now it is out of harm’s way. He confirmed his state to us because we managed to get in touch with him by phone. Immediately after the accident he was rushed to a regional hospital, but he did not require hospitalization for his injuries,” Lunculescu before the media.
The Pakistani military said the helicopter was downed by a malfunction while the Talibans claimed the attack which they alleged was destined to hit another helicopter transporting the Pakistani PM. An investigation is underway.
Romania’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson also mentioned that no other Romanian nationals were on board, just foreign diplomats, some of whom died in the accident. Lunculescu extended the ministry’s condolences, voicing regret over the human casualties.
She added that according to official information MAE got from the spokesperson of the Pakistani Army the crash was the result of technical faults. “There are currently no indications to suggest the crash was the outcome of a terror act. There is an investigation underway,” she said, adding that the Pakistani Army said the crash happened in an area where Taliban groups do not operate.
Asked about the destination of the diplomats aboard the helicopter, Lunculescu said they were on a travelling tour. “On an invitation from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, they were to stay in the region for some days to visit various historic sites and meet local officials. The tour was obviously cancelled,” she said.
According to the BBC, the diplomats flying in the ill-fated MI-17 on Friday were headed for a little advertised but extremely exciting inauguration ceremony of a ski chairlift, built in the breathtaking resort of Naltar, in northern Pakistan.
Lunculescu added that according to official information from Pakistan, the accident left seven dead — two foreign ambassadors (Norway and the Philippines’ envoys), two ambassador’s wives and three Pakistani nationals.