A Pakistani army helicopter crashed Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan, killing three generals and five other soldiers, officials said.
The aircraft went down in South Waziristan, a rugged tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, the army's top spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said.
The area has been the scene of intense fighting between Pakistani forces and Islamic militants, but Abbas said initial reports indicated the crash occurred due to 'a technical fault in the helicopter.'
He said the pilot had reported an unspecified technical problem before the crash, which occurred near the road that links Wana, South Waziristan's main town, with Jandola, another town in the area. Weather in the area was 'not bad' at the time, Abbas said.
He ruled out hostile fire because militants had not been firing on security forces for the last 48 hours.
All the dead were Pakistanis and included Major General Javed Sultan, a senior military commander in the South Waziristan area, Abbas said on Pakistan's Aaj TV.
A military statement said the other victims included two brigadiers, a lieutenant colonel, three captains and an enlisted man. Most of the dead were members of Sultan's staff.
Abbas refused to say where the helicopter was headed, citing operational security.
Pakistan - a close US ally in the war against terrorism - has deployed thousands of troops to South Waziristan, where security forces have fought intense battles with militants in recent weeks. (AP)
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