Tail rotor had got detached, says BS Dhanoa

About 150 such helicopters are in service and 48 more have been requisitioned.

Hindon (UP): The Mi-17 helicopter crash in Tawang, in which seven military personnel were killed, may have been caused due to the disengagement of the chopper’s tail rotor, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa said on Sunday.

“Prima facie it appears that the tail rotor of the chopper had come off. It will not be proper for me to say why it came off as a court of inquiry has already been ordered to probe the crash,” the IAF Chief said on the sidelines of an event to celebrate the Air Force Day.

Five IAF personnel, including two pilots, and two army men were killed when the Mi-17 V5 medium-lift chopper crashed and burst into flames last Friday near Tawang. The Barrackepore-based helicopter was loaded with kerosene jerrycanes meant as supplies for a forward post in the mountainous region near the Sino-India border,said sources.

On Sunday morning, as the jerrycanes mounted on skids each of a certain weight and packed with one or more parachutes were being air dropped, one of the parachutes did not open properly and got entangled in the chopper’s tail rotor leading to a fire which spread fast.

A defence spokesperson said that only the court of inquiry can ascertain the actual cause of the crash and refused to confirm any lapses while dropping kerosene supply.

The IAF and the Indian Army which operates the largest number of military helicopters are already reeling under a shortage of about 1,000 helicopters.

About 150 such helicopters are in service and 48 more have been requisitioned.

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