0924 GMT February 19, 2019
On Tuesday, Colonel Ahmed al-Mesmari, the spokesman for Libya’s armed forces told Libyan news website Alwasat that the army helicopter crashed in an area 40 kilometers west of the city of Tobruk,early in the morning.
There have been conflicting reports of the number of those on board and the fatalities. The cause of the crash also remains unknown.
Mesmari said the head of the office of the Libyan armed forces’ commander in chief, Idris Younis, three crew members and four other people, who he did not identify, were abroad the ill-fated chopper.
According to the army official, the helicopter was returning from the town of Ra’s Lanuf to Tobruk.
The spokesman said no further information is available on the chopper yet, adding that a search operation is underway.
However, a report by Sky News Arabia said the army helicopter was carrying seven people, five of whom lost their lives in the crash.
The report quoted army sources as saying that two officers had survived the crash.
Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after a NATO military intervention.
His ouster created a huge power vacuum in Libya, leading to chaos and emergence of numerous militant groups.
Since then, the country has been wracked by violence, with the rival administrations and their allied militias battling for power.