Three Indian Navy personnel, including two officers, were killed when their Chetak helicopter crashed while landing at Dabolim International Airport in Goa at 9.51 am on Monday.
The airport, also used for civilian flights, is under the operational command of the navy. Lt Commander Dharmendra Singh, Lt Commander Rahul Tiwari and chief artificer CH Krishnan died in the crash, a navy spokesperson said.
The chopper, flying from Mumbai to Bangalore, was making a scheduled refuelling halt at INS Hansa naval air base. “A board of inquiry had been ordered into the crash,” the spokesperson added.
Preliminary reports suggest the chopper’s rotor broke when it was approaching the runway from the Bogmallo beach side. According to sources at the airport, the helicopter careened in an inexplicable manner about 250 ft from the ground. The chopper was engulfed in flames following the crash.
Operations were restored after ensuring the runway was clear of debris.
This is the first crash involving a naval helicopter this year. The Navy operates more than 60 of the ageing Chetak and Cheetah helicopters and has been looking for replacements. The force recently issued a tender for procuring 56 twin-engine light utility helicopters from foreign vendors.
With inputs from agencies