SADIQABAD              -              Two pilots of the Federal Department’s Plant Protection Unit lost their lives in a deadly crash on Sunday when their plane crashed due to a “technical fault” while spraying insecticide in Sadiqabad fields.

The aircraft was crashed at Chak No 215 near Sadiqabad due to a technical fault resulting in death of both the pilots on board the plane.

The Sadiqabad assistant commissioner rushed to the spot of the plane crash with rescue teams and heavy contingents of police. The police cordoned off the spot of the plane crash. Initial investigations suggested that the plane crashed due to technical problems.

According to sources, a technical fault developed in the aircraft during the aerial spray and the plane crashed to the ground leaving both the pilots martyred in the incident on the spot.

The two martyrs have been identified as pilot Muhammad Shoaib and engineer of the Plant Protection Department Fawad Butt.

The district administration of Sadiqabad had called the aircraft from the government of Punjab for anti-locust spray in the region.

The Plant Protection Department of the federal government had provided the aircraft to the provincial government for use in aerial spray in anti-locust operations in the province.

Swarms of locusts have eaten up green plants and shrubs in Cholistan region of Punjab and several parts of Sindh damaging standing crops and fruit orchards.

Several swarms of locusts descended in the areas in Sindh past year and eat up standing cotton crop, vegetables and fodder for cattle. In June last year, swarms of locusts attacked cotton fields in Khairpur, Sukkur, and Ghotki. Farmers had to bear losses of hundreds of thousands of rupees due to crop loss in the attack.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in September last year had warned that the situation relating to locusts in Pakistan was “most serious” as a second generation of the insect had been bred.