Six Indian Air Force personnel and one civilian were killed after an Mi-17 helicopter “on a routine mission” crashed at central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday morning.
The chopper, in flames, fell on the fields of Garend Kalan village in Budgam.
The Press Information Bureau said in a statement, “One Mi-17 V5 helicopter of Indian Air Force got airborne from Srinagar airfield at 1000 hrs for a routine mission. The helicopter crashed around 1010 hrs near Budgam, J&K. All six air warriors on board the helicopter, suffered fatal injuries. A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident.” FOLLOW India-Pakistan LIVE News Updates
Apart from the Air Force personnel, who are yet to be identified, a local resident named Kifayat Hussain Ganaie, 18, died after the burning helicopter crashed on him.
Kifayat was enrolled in Class X at a local school in the neighbouring village and also worked as a construction labourer, local residents said.
His cousin Shahnawaz Hussain told The Indian Express that Kifayat was sitting about 30 metres away from them, when they heard a blast in the air and saw an aircraft hurling towards them. “As we ran for cover, there was another blast and the aircraft fell on Kifayat. It all occurred within seconds; we could not save him,” Shahnawaz said.
The Mi-17 v5 is a “non-combatant” transport aircraft. It was carrying six personnel, including the pilot, according to information.