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.
Five of those killed were Indian Air Force personnel and two were Army officials.
The helicopter reportedly crashed around 6 am Friday while it was on an air maintenance mission. The chopper was flying in Tawang sector, bordering China.
IAF identified the deceased personnel as Wing Commander Vikram Upadhyay, Squadron Leader S Tiwari, MWO A K Singh, Sergeant Gautam and Sergeant Satish Kumar. The two deceased from the Indian Army are Sepoy E Balaji and Sepoy H N Deka. The Indian Air Force has ordered a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the chopper crash.
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.
PTI reported in July that Russia last year handed over to India the final batch of three Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters under a previously signed contract with Rosoboronexport, a company of the Rostec State Corporation, that entailed a total of 151 units of the Mi-17V-5 helicopter, produced by the Kazan Helicopter Plant.
Designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and on an external sling, the Mi-17V5 is considered to be one of the world's most advanced military transport helicopters.
Mi-17V5, supplied to India, ranks among the most technically advanced helicopters of the Mi-8/17 type, incorporating the best engineering solutions of previous generations.
Referring to a string of crashes of IAF’s choppers and military jets in recent years, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had said on Thursday: "Our losses in the peacetime are a cause of concern. We are making concerted efforts to minimise accidents and preserve our assets.”
In May this year, two IAF pilots died when the Sukhoi-30 jet crashed near the Assam-Arunachal border during a routine training mission.