IAF Mi-17-V5 chopper crashed near Kedarnath

A Mi-17V5 helicopter of Indian Air Force crashed near Kedarnath on Tuesday morning around 8.10 AM.

All persons on board are safe, an IAF spokesperson said. A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

This is the third Mi-17V5 accident in recent years. However, unlike the past two crashes, there were no casualty this time.

The worst accident happened in June 2013, when one of these choppers carrying 19 people on-board crashed, while returning from Kedarnath.

The Mi-17 V5 helicopter was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath. It was returning from Kedarnath amidst rain in poor visibility condition when it crashed in an area north of Gaurikund.

The second Mi-17V5 accident took place in October 2017 when one of the rotor aircraft crashed after getting airborne from a helipad north of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, killing all the seven persons on-board.

IAF had started inducting Mi-17 V5 choppers in February 2012 after 80 of them were ordered from Russia.

Deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, IAF officials claimed the number of accidents in the Air Force has come down.

"We have used to lose almost 30 to 40 aircraft a year earlier. We reduced that number close to 10. Ours is a business where we have to take risk, but our accident rate is similar to the most professional Air Forces of the world," IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal S B Deo told the lawmakers.

Mi-17 V5, an upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium-lift category, is fitted with more powerful engines that enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes. Because of some of its special features, it is used regularly in disaster relief operations.

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