August 13, 2016
Pakistani officials say the crew members of a Pakistani helicopter that crash landed in Afghanistan earlier this month have been released by their captors and the crew has returned home safely.
A Foreign Ministry statement Saturday said “The six-member crew of Punjab government helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan on 4th August 2016 has been recovered and arrived in Islamabad today.”
The statement said all six crew members, five Pakistanis and a Russian navigator, are “safe and in good health.”
Authorities said earlier this month the crew was in the custody of the Taliban.
The Russian-made MI-17 aircraft took off from the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar for the central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, but developed “a technical fault” on the way, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing across the Afghan border.
Villagers said the helicopter caught fire immediately after touching the ground and all the men onboard survived the accident before they were captured and taken away by unknown armed men.
The accident happened in the remote district of the Afghan province of Logar.