BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Sub Inspector Abdul Rehman and his colleague were among the first men who, putting their own lives at risk, pulled out the injured from inside a chopper that crashed onto a school in the scenic Naltar valley on Friday.
Norwegian envoy Leif H Larsen, Philippines ambassador Domingo D Lucenario Jr, wives of Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and two pilots were killed in the incident on Friday while Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish and Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink sustained injuries.
The delegation was on its way to inspect projects on a three-day trip to G-B where they were set to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“I saw some policemen and doctors rushing towards the chopper the moment it hit the ground. They were pulling out the injured through the broken windows without caring for their own lives,” Nazakat Ali, a journalist covering the event told Outpost on Saturday.
“When they were retrieving the injured, a part of the chopper had already caught fire and it had run the risk of being exploded.”
According to witnesses, it was the police that made it to the scene first, others followed them.
“It was our duty to help them out. If we could save all of them at the cost of our lives, we would be ready to do that,” sub inspector Abdul Rehman said. “But we are sorry we couldn’t save all the precious lives.”
Rehman, who works in police department Gilgit, said the first person trying to get out of the broken window was one in uniform, perhaps a crew member, followed by a foreigner.
“In all we were able to retrieve six injured including a lady. We passed them on to others present there for treatment.”
Praising the spirit shown by his subordinates during the tensed moments, he said “constable Fida Ali wanted me to keep his gun as it didn’t allow him to work freely.”
Those rescued were further treated by doctors at the site including Dr Mubarak Shah Hunzai and Dr Hanif. Dr Hunzai reportedly got his foot injured while rescuing one from inside the chopper.
Besides sub inspector Abdul Rehman, the policemen who rushed to the site were identified as special grade constables including Ashiq Ali, Aqil Khan, Basharat, Fida Ali, Abdul Rahman, foot constable [FC] Abdul Kareem, FC Ijlal Hussain, FC Giyasud Din, FC Obaidullah, FC Shahid Azim, Head constable [HC] Hafiz Baig.
The number of casualties was believed to have further soared if policemen hadn’t risked their lives to rescue the passengers.