2 Ambassadors Killed in Pakistan Copter Crash

2 Ambassadors Killed in Pakistan Copter Crash2 Ambassadors Killed in Pakistan Copter Crash

The ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines were among six people killed in Pakistan on Friday after a military helicopter carrying the diplomats crashed into a school in the country’s north.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter. The group's spokesman said militants had "a special plan to target" Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his anticipated visit to Pakistan's Naltar Valley.

The helicopter was one of three carrying a delegation of envoys to inspect projects on a three-day trip to Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region where they were set to meet with Pakistan's leader, France24 reported.

Sharif was travelling to the region in a separate aircraft at the time of the accident. He has since returned to the capital Islamabad, according to his office, which issued a statement expressing the prime minister’s “deep grief and sorrow” over the crash.

Leif H. Larsen of Norway and Domingo D. Lucenario Jr of the Philippines were killed along with the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors, as well as the helicopter's two pilots, Pakistan’s military said.

Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish and Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink were also injured, the military added. It was the worst air crash since 2012 when a civilian 737 went down in Islamabad, killing 130 people.

The incident was also reminiscent of the 1988 plane crash which killed then military-ruler General Zia-ul-Haq as well as the US ambassador at the time Arnold Raphel.

The injured were being air lifted to a military hospital in Gilgit, the region's administrative capital, some 50km to the southwest, added a senior local police official.

Known for its spectacular mountain ranges and unique culture, Gilgit-Baltistan is a strategically important autonomous region that borders China, Afghanistan and Indian-held Kashmir.