The toll in Pakistan's deadly earthquake jumped to over 73,000 dead and 69,000 injured even as Islamabad discounted reports on Wednesday that a United States chopper was shot at in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, while carrying relief material.
Pakistan's Relief Commissioner Major General Farooq Ahmed Khan revised the death toll in the October 8 earthquake to 73,276, with another 69,260 injured. Asked about the quantum jump in the death toll, Khan said many bodies were recovered during the last two days, as the operation to remove the rubble was stepped up.
Khan said a total of 2,775 villages were affected by the quake and the Pakistan army has accessed 2,734 villages and 41 are still remaining. These have not yet been accessed by the relief and rescue teams due to roads being destroyed by the quake, he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Pakistan military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan insisted on Wednesday that no rocket was fired on US Chinook helicopter ferrying relief supplies to quake victims in PoK.
"We carried out the investigation and it revealed that it was blasting on the roadside by engineers, under way exactly at that time when the helicopter was flying over the area," he said. The blasting produced a dust cloud and the pilot of helicopters misunderstood it as rocket fire, he said.
US pilots reported on Tuesday that a Chinook heavy duty helicopter was fired at between Hattian Ballah and Chakoti while returning to PoK capital, Muzaffarabad.