Source AP ©

One of three helicopters escorting President Musharraf crashes in Kashmir

One of three helicopters escorting President Gen. Pervez Musharraf crashed in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir on Monday, killing four soldiers on board, but the president was unhurt, officials said.

Musharraf already had reached his destination when the accident occurred, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad told Dawn News TV.

Abbas Gardezi, a local journalist, said he saw an army helicopter crash about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Muzaffarabad, the main town in Pakistan's portion of the disputed Himalayan territory.

He said when the chopper hit the ground, there was an explosion and it was entirely burned.

A senior army official speaking on condition of anonymity because was not authorized to comment to media said the helicopter was one of three taking Musharraf to Muzaffarabad for commemorations of the second anniversary of Oct. 7, 2005, earthquake that killed nearly 80,000 people.

Arshad said only that an army helicopter made a crash landing due to a technical fault while en route to Muzaffarabad. "Four troops died and some were injured," he said.

Security was tight in Muzaffarabad on Monday morning, restricting residents' movement around the city, apparently in anticipation of the arrival of a VIP visitor.

On Saturday, Musharraf swept a presidential election by lawmakers. He has to wait for a Supreme Court ruling on his eligibility for office to find out whether he will win a new five-year term.

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