ibnlive » India

Oct 23, 2011 at 05:32pm IST

Army chopper 'forced' to land in PoK, 4 detained

New Delhi: An Indian Army chopper was taken into custody in Pakistan after it strayed across the Line of Control (LOC) on Sunday. Sources reported that it landed near Olding in Pakistan at around 1.00 pm because of extremely bad weather.

The helicopter was forced to land after it allegedly intruded into Pakistani airspace, TV news channels quoted the Inter-Services Public Relations as saying.

Pakistani's Director General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas confirmed that the chopper had strayed across the LOC.

"The chopper is in Olding sector in Pakistan. It is under safe custody. We have informed our Indian counterparts about the incident," he said.

Abbas added, "investigation are on we are trying to find out how chopper came so deep in Pakistan."

Indian Army sources have said that the crew carries only normal flying maps and not the strategic maps on the chopper.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is working to get more information from Ministry of Defence (MoD). They are in n touch with High Commission in Islamabad. They specifically want information on how the chopper was 'forced' down and how it found itself deep inside PoK.

Indian High Commission has contacted Pakistan Foreign Office , sought early release of crew.

Pakistani authorities have informed their Indian counterparts, adding that the four crew members of the chopper are safe and in Pakistani custody.

A source inside the Pakistani Defence said that once investigations were done the crew will be released.

"This is Olding Sector Skardu. First thing we did was to inform Indian side as a goodwill gesture. The crew are fine and investigations are on. Release will happen only after talks and negotiations. Prima Facie it appears that due to some human error they wrongly estimated and entered 25 kms inside," the source said.

Pakistani military officials have said the Indian Army chopper was escorted to Skardu.

Indian Military sources confirmed that it was an Army Cheetah which had moved from Leh to Bhimbat with engineering officers and a JCO onboard to rectify defect of another chopper.

Initial media reports had said that the Indian helicopter had strayed into Pakistani airspace due to bad weather conditions in Skardu area.

In New Delhi, army sources said the helicopter belonging to Army's Aviation Corps was on its way to Bhimbhat from Leh.

One engineering officer, One JCO and two pilots were onboard Cheetah helicopter when it landed in PoK, they said.

The Director-General of Military operations of both the countries are in touch with each other, sources said, adding action is in hand to retrieve them.

(With additional inputs from PTI)