ISLAMABAD, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Two government officials including a pilot were killed after a small aircraft of Pakistan's Department of Plant Protection (DPP) crashed during pesticide spray in the eastern province of Punjab on Sunday.
The pilot and an engineer onboard the aircraft were spraying anti-locust pesticide after they got a signal of clear weather by the ground team, but about one hour after the operation, their plane crashed during the routine aerial spray, killing both of them on the spot, but no loss of life was reported on the ground as the operation was being done in an uninhabited desert area, Director General of the DPP Falak Naz told Xinhua.
He said the crash happened far away from the main Rahim Yar Khan city, and ground teams of the DPP and provincial authorities were on their way to determine the cause of the crash and recover bodies of the victims.
A pilot from the DPP told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the department had five spray aircraft including the one that crashed on Sunday.
"Though all the aircraft are old, but they are completely operational. The exact cause of the aircraft's crash is not known yet, but technical fault in the plane cannot be ruled out," the pilot said.
Locust attack on crops incurred heavy financial losses to farmers in some areas of the country over the past two years. Naz said the DPP is helping Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces to control locust by spraying pesticide.