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September 17, 2021

Romania’s Ambassador injured in Pakistani helicopter crash resumes work, blames accident on technical fault

Romania’s ambassador to Islamabad, Pakistan, Emilian Ion told Agerpres on Sunday that he feels physically and mentally good, that he resumed work, blaming the helicopter crash in Pakistan he survived on a technical fault.

‘I am at work. I have resumed work and I am in a very good physical and mental shape,’ said Ion.

He also extended thanks to Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, his colleagues and friends for their attention and solidarity displayed toward him.

Ion said that on the day of the accident, a group of 30 ambassadors were flying on three helicopters from Islamabad to meet the Pakistani prime minister.

‘I was on helicopter number three, which suddenly started spinning circularly around the axis, after which we crashed down from quite a low distance in a green area close to a building, which I learned afterwards was a school. (…) I was the second one to get off through a door that one of the five soldiers that were aboard struggled to open. I got off. I was glad I could walk unaided.(…) I met up with the South-African ambassador, whom I saw walking and talking, then I met up with the Dutch ambassador, who had some burns on his face and injuries in both his legs. I talked to him. Some locals showed up with a mobile bed. We placed the ambassador on the mobile bed, and then I wanted to head for the helicopters. In the meantime, doctors and special teams came up to took over the rescue operations. I saw big flames. I saw the rescue operations unfolding as the saved people were rushed to a military hospital in Gilgit with a military helicopter. Later on, I, the South-African ambassador and the Lebanese ambassador were flown to the hospital for further medical investigation , by a smaller helicopter. It was there that I started talking with my colleagues,’ the ambassador said.

He added that after the medical investigations and talks with representatives of other diplomatic missions, he was driven to a hotel, where he learned that the Norwegian and the Philippines ambassadors in Islamabad, the wives of the Malay and Indonesian ambassadors as well as several soldiers aboard the MI-17 helicopters had died.

Ion mentioned that the authorities conducted the evacuations fast and the ambassadors who were involved in the accident were provided assistance from Pakistan.

‘I would not like to make speculations. I can only tell what my personal belief is, since I was on the helicopter. I am convinced that it was a technical fault that spun the helicopter out of control. Had it been what is now being claimed, that is a terror operation, you could imagine the helicopter would have been crashed in the air and no survivor would have been left.. (…) So far as I understand, troops had been deployed on three circular rings, and moreover that area was free from Taliban presence. These are my arguments and belief. Knowing their seriousness and professionalism, I am convinced the Pakistani authorities will make public the results of the investigation; I can personally say 100 per cent that it was a technical fault,’ said Romania’s ambassador to Pakistan.


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