NHK crew killed in Pakistan crash

Kyodo

Three members of an NHK television crew and their Pakistani driver were killed when their vehicle plunged into a ravine in northern Pakistan on Thursday, according to Pakistan’s Geo private TV channel.

The NHK office in Islamabad confirmed it received a report on the accident, which occurred place in midafternoon on the Korakoram Highway about 70 km from the town of Gilgit.

In Tokyo, NHK officials identified the three Japanese as Shojun Hata, 55, an executive director of NHK’s special programs department, Kiyoshi Honda, 35, an NHK cameraman, and Taro Takeuchi, 28, a crew assistant.

Geo TV said the NHK crew went to Hunza, a picturesque town on the Chinese border, on Wednesday to prepare a documentary and were scheduled to return to Islamabad by air on Thursday. They missed the flight and decided to travel by road.

Quoting local police, Geo said the car, a four-wheel-drive vehicle, went through a fence beside the road and plunged 200 meters into a ravine.

The 800-km Korakoram Highway runs through mountain ranges 7,000 meters high.

Police officials said the four bodies have been recovered and the three Japanese will be sent to Islamabad.

NHK officials in Tokyo said Hata and his crew were preparing a special documentary on Eurasia to be broadcast in January. The three left Japan on Sept. 18 and arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan on Tuesday.