Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Helicopter crash survivor Ambassador Emilian unfolds facts

ISLAMABAD, MAY 12: Survivor of helicopter crash Emilian ION Ambassador of Romania, giving
 details of the accident, on Tuesday. DNA PHoto Shahid Raju

Helicopter crash survivor Ambassador Emilian unfolds facts
Says it is a miracle to be safe and sound after the crash; shares agonizing moments when chopper was coming down; praises military and civilians for rescue operations; prays for the victims

ISLAMABAD, May 12 (DNA) –Ambassador of Romania Emilian Ion, who survived miraculously in Naltar helicopter crash, has said it is a miracle that he is alive today keeping in view the way his helicopter crashed.

Giving details to any Pakistani media for the first time after the tragic crash, the Ambassador told DNA he could not forget those moments when the helicopter started taking circles and rammed into a school building when it was just a few yards away from the landing point.

“Similarly, it is impossible for me to describe feelings of all of us, especially the ladies, especially when the helicopter started downward slide like a wayward commodity”, he said.

The Ambassador said they all fell on ground when the helicopter started rotating. “The ambassador of Poland asked me Emilian what is going on. Nobody knew what was happening and soon helicopter dashed into school building with a bang”.

The rear part of the helicopter caught fire. “I was sitting close to the cockpit and as soon as the helicopter touched the ground, the husband of Lebanon ambassador started screaming loudly, .. Open the door….. Open the door. A crew member from the military then made it to the door and opened it by using his full force,” Emilian told.

“I was the second one after the husband of Lebanon ambassador to step out of the helicopter. By the time, the local people had already gathered around the helicopter. I asked them I am safe please go inside and rescue other people”. Then I also rushed towards the helicopter to rescue my colleagues”, he added.

He informed that after him the South African High Commissioner, who was feeling some pain in chest, came out and then the Ambassador of the Netherlands with burnt face and body left the helicopter.

He said he was not an aviation expert however he can guess the helicopter crashed because of low altitude and some mechanical fault.

The ambassador told those who lost their precious lives in this tragedy were sitting in the rear part of the helicopter, which caught fire after the copter crashed. “Some of our colleagues could simply withstand severe jolts when the chopper was moving in circles. It is my guess that the Norwegian ambassador died on the spot in this process”.

He said “I am impressed by the treatment of the military people and air force people especially the air chief marshal who was there on the spot. I told the air marshal please ask your people to take care of our colleagues because by the grace of God I am okay”.

“At the Nur Khan Airbase, Chief of the Army Staff and Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee were there to receive us. I am touched by the care and attention given to us by the military leadership and the government functionaries”, he added.

Emilian further said “I have to recognize here some Pakistanis especially Aziz Boolani, the CEO of Serena Hotels who rushed to us with tears in his eyes as soon as he saw the helicopter crashed into a school building. Aziz Boolani helped us to a safe place. Then Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Moinul Haq also needs applause because he also came to us and took part in the rescue operations along with his staff”.

The ambassador said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s office too need fulsome applause for arranging such a nice trip adding he would love to go again to those areas in future also.

The ambassador thanked all his friends who prayed for him after the deadly helicopter crash on May 8 in Naltar. “I would like to convey my sincere condolences to the families of my dear colleagues and friends, Ambassador of Norway, Ambassador of the Philippines, wife of Ambassador of Malaysia and wife of Ambassador of Indonesia, as well as of the two pilots and the mechanic of the helicopter, who lost their lives in the unfortunate accident”.

Ambassador Emilian also wished speedy recovery to all other colleagues, persons who were on board the helicopter and sustained injuries: Ambassador of Poland and his wife, Ambassador of the Netherlands, Ambassador of Malaysia, Ambassador of Indonesia and two Pakistani persons were among those who sustained injuries.

He hoped that the Pakistani medical teams that were taking care of them will succeed to recover all of them at the earliest.=DNA
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