Seven defence personnel were killed after an Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force crashed in Arunachal Pradesh's Chuna area on Friday.
TV reports said that the area where the crash happened is a high-altitude area but the Indian Air Force carries out regular training exercises in the area.
“It is confirmed that a Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed early morning around 6 am in Arunachal Pradesh. All the seven people on board have been confirmed dead in the accident,” Hindustan Times quoted a senior IAF official as saying.
Tawang district Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Meena said that the crash site is located at some four-to-five hours drive from Tawang. "It is a forested area," Meena said adding that the bodies are being brought to the helipad near Tawang.
"We are told that there were no civilians and all were defence personnel," he said.
According to India Today, the chopper which crashed 12 kilometers from India-Tibet border, was carrying supplies for armed forces on the border. Sudden technical problem could have lead to the crash, added the report. Rescue teams reached the crash site in Tawang near the Indo-China border and admitted the injured personnel to a local hospital. Five IAF personnel and two army men are among those who have been killed, said reports.
Around 6 AM today, a Mi-17 V5 helicopter while on a Air Maintenance mission crashed in Arunachal Pradesh. Court of Inquiry ordered: IAF — ANI (@ANI) October 6, 2017
The chopper was on an "air maintenance mission", NDTV reported. A Court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain what caused the crash, IAF authorities told media channels.
The area in which the chopper was flying is said to be vulnerable to dangerous weather changes, according News18.
The crash comes a day ahead of the Air Force Day which is extensively celebrated by the IAF. "Our losses in the peacetime are a cause of concern. We are making concerted efforts to minimise accidents and preserve our assets," Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had said on Thursday, referring to a string of crashes of IAF’s choppers and military jets in recent years
The Mi-17 V5 is a Russian built medium-lift military transport chopper.
Earlier in July, an IAF chopper engaged in a flood rescue mission crashed near Papum Pare district in the hill state killing four persons including three IAF crew and one India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel.
The frequently changing weather condition in Arunachal Pradesh makes flying of choppers difficult in the area and there have been several incidents of crashes in the hill state in the past.
The then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu, and four others also died in a chopper crash in the hill state in 2011.
In February last year, Russia had handed over to India the final batch of three Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters under a previously signed contract.
In July this year, an Indian Air Force chopper had gone missing in Arunachal Pradesh after it took off from Pilputu Helipad near Sagalee for the Naharlagun heliport.
A search and rescue team of the Arunachal Police had found the wreckage of the missing IAF helicopter later and two mutilated bodies near it. The IAF however had said it was not certain if the debris was of its missing Advanced Light Helicopter.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 06, 2017 14:25:59 IST