Five Indian Air Force crew members and two Indian Army personnel were killed after an IAF chopper crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh Friday morning. According to IAF sources, the crash took place a little after 6 am. The Mi-17 V5 helicopter was on an air maintenance mission when it crashed.
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.
The Mi-17V-5 is considered to be one of the world’s most advanced military transport helicopters. In 2016, Russia handed over three Mi-17V-5 to India. Designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and on an external sling, Mi-17V-5 also ranks among the most technically advanced helicopters of the Mi-8/17 type, incorporating the best engineering solutions from previous generations.
In 2008, Russia’s Rosoboronexport signed a contract for the delivery of 80 Mi-17V-5 to India, which was completed in 2011 -2013. In 2012-2013, three additional contracts were signed to supply a total of 71 Mi-17V-5 helicopters to meet the needs of the Indian Air Force.
In another crash on July 4, three Indian Air Force pilots were killed during a rescue operation of flood-affected people in the state. The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) had lost contact soon after its take off from Sagalee before the rescue. The mutilated bodies of Wing Commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon, Flight Lieutenant Pramod Kumar Singh and Sergeant Rajendra Yashwant Gujjar were recovered along with the wreckage of the chopper three days later.
(With PTI inputs)