Arunachal helicopter accident kills 7 personnel

Arunachal helicopter accident kills 7 personnel

Seven military personnel were killed early on Friday, when a transport helicopter of Indian Air Force crashed in Arunachal Pradesh – close to the disputed border between India and China.

The Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF was carrying food and other essentials for the soldiers of Indian Army deployed in forward posts guarding the Line of Actual Control – the de-facto border between India and China – in the mountainous region.

The chopper crashed around 6:59 am on Friday. The deceased included five IAF personnel and two Indian Army soldiers, the IAF said in a statement.

According to the IAF, the helicopter was on an “air-maintenance mission” and was carrying out the second sortie, when the mishap took place. The helicopter crashed close to the “dropping zone” or the pre-determined location, where it was to drop the supplies for the soldiers deployed in the forward posts. It caught fire immediately, an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.

Wing Commander V Upadhyay was flying the helicopter with Squadron Leader S Tewari being the co-pilot. Both of them were killed in the mishap. So were five others – Sergeant Gautam Kumar, Master Warrant Officer A K Singh and Sergeant Satish Kumar of the IAF and Sepoys H N Deka and E Balaji of the Indian Army. Gautam Kumar was a flight engineer, while A K Singh and Satish Kumar were flight gunners.

The mortal remains of the deceased were recovered from the crash site at Yangchi, which is about 130 km from Tawang and close to the disputed India-China border.

A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to establish what caused the crash, the IAF stated.

India procured the Mi-17 V5 choppers from Kazan Helicopters of Russia.

Designed to transport cargo inside the cabin as well as on an external sling, the Mi-17 V5 is one of the most advanced helicopters of the world. It can also be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue missions.

The IAF and Indian Army have over 150 Mi-17 V5 helicopters.

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