Six Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, including two pilots, and a civilian were killed when a Russian made M-17 chopper crashed near Srinagar airport on Wednesday.
A police officer said the Mi-17 chopper crashed at Garend Kalan, Budgam, 18 kms from here, at around 10:40 am. In the incident, the pilot, co-pilot, four IAF personnel and a civilian died on the spot, he said. However, there was no immediate official confirmation.
The officer said that four bodies were charred in the incident and were beyond recognition. The slain civilian was identified as Kifayat Hussain (20). His relatives said Hussain was sitting in the field when the aircraft crashed.
Earlier, officials in Srinagar had described the downed aircraft as a jet. They said the aircraft broke into two and caught fire immediately. Visuals showed the wrecked fuselage of the IAF chopper in flames and a large number of villagers standing around it.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Budgam, Nagpure Amod Ashok said the IAF will investigate the crash site and provide more details.
Civilian flights to and from Jammu and Kashmir were suspended after the crash, with Srinagar, Jammu, Leh and other airports closed for civilian air traffic. However, later in the day, the flights' operation resumed at all the airports.
The crash took place in the backdrop of heavy shelling and firing from across the Line of Control on a day IAF fighter jets crossed the border and destroyed a vast Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp within Pakistan in a pre-dawn strike on Tuesday. India has said that a terror camp run by Jaish was destroyed and a large number of terrorists were eliminated while Pakistan has denied this claim and said that there were no casualties.