The presence of mind shown by the two pilots of an Army helicopter which crashed in Nashik on Wednesday in a residential area may have saved many lives, a police official said.
Both the pilots died in the crash.
"Had the pilots bailed out immediately after noticing fault in rotor blades, they would have saved their own lives, but the helicopter would have certainly crashed into a densely populated area, killing many more," he said.
The pilots -- Major Atul Garje and Captain Bhanu Pratap Gupta -- averted a major tragedy, by steering the helicopter towards a vacant plot of land, he said.
Major Garje hailed from Pathardi tehsil in Ahmednagar district and was an alumnus of Sainik School, Satara. He was blessed with a daughter a few months ago.
The pilots almost managed an emergency landing before the rotor blade of the helicopter hit the terrace of a bungalow, the official said.