Pakistan says army general, 5 others die in helicopter crash

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani search teams found the wreckage of a helicopter that went down the previous day in the country’s flood-stricken southwest, the military said Tuesday. An army general and five others on board were killed, it said.

The aircraft had lost contact with the air-traffic control tower in Baluchistan province on Monday evening while flying on a relief mission in a flood-hit area in the southwest.

A military statement identified the deceased officer as regional commander Lt. Gen. Sarfraz Ali. It said that, according to an initial probe, the crash happened due to bad weather.

The helicopter was part of aid efforts in the flood-affected Baluchistan, where rains and flash floods since June have killed nearly 150 people. The military provided no further details.

Pakistan’s President Arif Ali, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other senior politicians offered their condolences to the victims’ families.

Pakistan is currently using helicopters and boats to evacuate flood victims from various parts of the country, including Baluchistan and Rajanpur, a district in eastern Punjab province.

Rains and flash floods have killed at least 478 people across the country since June. The deluges have also completely destroyed or damaged nearly 37,000 homes in the flood-hit areas, according to a report released by the National Disaster and Management Authority.

Rescue workers backed by the military have evacuated thousands of marooned people, including women and children. More rains are expected this week in Pakistan, where the monsoon season runs from July through September.

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