At least seven military personnel were killed while one sustained serious injuries when an Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force crashed this morning near Tawang, a remote town of Arunachal Pradesh which is close to the border with China.
The Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed at around 6 am when it was on an air maintenance mission, a senior IAF official said adding five personnel on board the chopper were killed while one person was critically injured.
“A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the official said.
At least one person from the Army was on board the chopper and two IAF pilots were believed to be among those killed in the crash, official sources said.
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 yesterday, referring to a string of crashes of IAFs choppers and military jets in recent years.
Sources said rescue teams reached the site within hours after the crash and brought the injured person to a local hospital in Tawang.
The Mi-17 V5 is a Russian built medium-lift military transport chopper.