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Seven IAF personnel, including two officers, were killed on Friday when their helicopter crashed near Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh.
The chopper, the indigenously developed advanced light helicopter Dhruv, crashed barely an hour after it took off from Bareilly at 3.53pm.
On its way to Allahabad, it crashed in a field outside Sitapur at 4.57pm.
“The pilot gave a ‘may-day’ (emergency) call and soon after that there was loss of contact on radar and on radio,” an IAF spokesperson said.
Initial reports said the crash of the five-tonne multirole helicopter was because of a technical glitch. “The machine was checked according to routine before the flight, but it may have developed some sort of technical problem midway,” IAF officials said.
According to locals, the chopper turned into a huge ball of fire before it crashed.
There were no reports of any civilian casualty because the pilot was able to take the helicopter to the empty field.
This is the seventh, and worst, crash involving Dhruv. Two of the crashes occurred in Ecuadorian service. India had supplied seven of these helicopters to the Ecuadorian Air Force.
In March this year, one of the IAF’s special operations C-130 J aircraft crashed 116km west of Gwalior on the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border, killing all five crew members. The Rs 1,000-crore aircraft had taken off as part of a two-aircraft formation from Agra.
Watch video: IAF chopper crashes in UP, seven dead