Date :October 6, 2017, Place : Khirmu Helipad, Tawang , Time 6.30 am , Incident : Another chopper crash
Another Mi -17 V5 helicopter of Indian Air Force crashed on Friday morning along the India –China border in Tawang killing all seven personnel on board . This is nothing new and such incidents have become a common phenomenon in the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh..
Defence Spokesperson Lt .Col. Sombit Ghosh told South Asia Views that the Mi-17 aircraft which had 5 IAF and 2 army personnel on board had earlier taken off from the Khirmu helipad near Tawang before crashing at around 6.30 am. Topu Ghar is around 120 kms from Tawang and Khirmu is about 25 km .
The chopper was on air maintenance and was supposed to drop kerosene jerry cans at an army camp in Topu Ghar.
Tawang superintendent of police M. K. Meena informed that all the seven bodies were recovered later in the day by a team of the IAF and Army. “The rescue operation was carried out at an altitude of almost 17000 meters. All the bodies were later bought at the Khirmu helipad for medical formalities and flown to the Guwahati via Tezpur airbase,” informed SP Meena.
The deceased have been identified as Wing Commander Vikram Upadhyay, Squadron Leader S. Tiwari, MWO A. K. Singh, Sgt. Gautam and Sgt. Satish Kumar of the Air force while Sepoys E. Balaji and H.N. Deka are from the Indian Army.
Tawang SP said that a team of police personnel of the district administration has also left for the crash site to gather more details. It takes around 6-7 hours to reach the crash site by road, he said.
The Tawang district administration and SP who did not give any information on the possible reasons behind the crash said that an court of enquiry has already ordered by the Air Force .
The Mi-17V-5 (domestic designation Mi-8MTV-5) is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. It is produced by Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters. It joined the Indian fleet after the Indian Ministry of Defence placed an order for 12 Mi-17V5 helicopters during the Aero India show held in February 2013.
This is the third incident of an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crashing in Arunachal Pradesh in a span of three months .An Advanced Light Helicopter of the IAF had on July 04 last crashed in Sagalee in Papum Pare district killing all four members on board.
Wing Commander M S Dhillon, the pilot, Flight Lieutenant P K Singh and Flight Engineer Sergeant Gujjar including one IRBn personnel namely Nada Umbing were the ones who lost their lives in the said incident.
Earlier also a Two –seater Sukhoi jet went missing after taking off for a routine training sortie from the Tezpur Salonibari Air Force station in Assam .The dead bodies were later recovered from West kameng district Arunachal Pradesh’s Doulasang area after three days .
Shocked over the tragic news, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members of those who lost their life in the tragic accident. In his condolence message, Khandu deeply mourned the death of the Army and Air force personnel and termed the incident as very unfortunate.
History of Chopper and fighter aircraft crashes in Arunachal Pradesh since 2015:
July 4,2017 : The advanced light helicopter ALH ,of IAF with three crew members and one India Reserve Battalion (IRBn) jawan on board, had gone missing near Sagalee in Papum Pare district after it took off from Pilputu helipad around 3.38pm.
May 23,2017 : Two –seater Sukhoi jet goes missing after taking off for a routine training sortie from the Tezpur Salonibari Air Force station in Assam . Bodies found West kameng district Arunachal Pradesh’s Doulasang area after three days .
July 4,2017 : Border Security Force (BSF) helicopter carrying Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju made an emergency landing in a polytechnic institute playground in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
August 4, 2015 :A Pawan Hans helicopter with three persons on board including Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Joshi, crashed in a dense jungle. Joshi was killed in the crash. The chopper went missing while on its way to Longding from Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh. Joshi, the pilot, co-pilot and another person were heading to Longding in eastern Arunachal Pradesh in a twin-engine Dauphin N3 helicopter operated by Pawan Hans. The dead bodies were recovered after eight days in Tirap district.
Photos for representational purposes only