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Pakistan quake relief copter crashes, 6 dead
Updated: 2005-10-16 12:48

A Pakistan army helicopter crashed in Pakistani Kashmir during a relief operation for the earthquake-shattered region, killing all six soldiers on board, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

"The Mi-17 helicopter crashed during daytime sometime on Saturday, when it went to provide relief items in some inaccessible areas in the Bagh valley," military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told Reuters.

"When it was going to Haji Peer Pak, which is a very difficult mountainous area, we lost contact with it," he said.

The debris of the helicopter was found at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (2030 GMT on Saturday), he said, and added that the six soldiers killed in the crash were Pakistan Army officers.

Sultan said it was not immediately clear whether the helicopter crashed because of bad weather or some technical fault.

Flights were severely disrupted on Saturday by heavy rains and clouded weather, and the bad weather was continuing on Sunday.

A fleet of helicopters, including some provided by U.S. forces based in neighbouring Afghanistan, has been ferrying emergency food supplies and shelter into the worst-hit areas of Kashmir and adjoining North West Frontier Province.

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