DUSHANBE, March 10, Asia-Plus  -- One person was killed and at least five others were injured Sunday as a helicopter with foreign mountaineers aboard crashed in GBAO’s Shugnan district, Asia-Plus has leaned at the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

The source at a MoI said that the accident took place Sunday afternoon some 80 kilometers east of Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Gorno Badakhshan or GBAO).  

The MoI noted that the Mi-8 helicopter owned by Tajik national air carrier TajikAir departed the Dushanbe airport at 10:47 a.m.  In Shugnan’s village of Vir, the helicopter took eleven mountain climbers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia and Switzerland and interpreter (Tajik national), who were returning  from a trip to the area.  

“According to the preliminary data, the helicopter went down in the mountains some 80 kilometers east of Khorog,” said the source.  “As a result of the crash, the helicopter commander Tolib Sardorov was killed, while two crewmembers Rahim Rahimov and Rahmon Homidov, interpreter Bobojon Jourayev and two mountain climbers – one French, the other one Russian - got injuries of different degrees of severity.”  They were hospitalized in stable condition, according to the source.   

The same day helicopters of TajikAir and Helicopter Operation of the Aga Khan Foundation were sent to rescuer the crash victims.  

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

According to reliable source, the mountain climbers arrived in Tajikistan by invitation of a tour operator that had previously been known as Alp-Mashkov, although foreign tourists have been advised to refrain from trips to Tajikistan because of possible natural disasters.