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Rediff.com  » News » Chopper crashes in Nashik; 2 Army officers killed

Chopper crashes in Nashik; 2 Army officers killed

Last updated on: February 02, 2011 16:41 IST

An army helicopter crashed in a residential area in Nashik on Wednesday killing both its pilots but there was no casualty on the ground.

The Cheetah helicopter of the Army Aviation Corps crashed at around 0855 hours at Jachak Nagar, killing both its occupants -- Captain Bhanu Pratap Gupta and Major Atul Garje, army officials probing the crash said.

They said as the chopper crashed in an open space there was no casualty.

Major Garje and Capt Gupta of Jodhpur army aviation base had arrived at the army's Combat Aviation Training Centre at Gandhinagar in Nashik two days back and had taken off on Wednesday morning for Goa en route Pune.

Later they were to fly to Bengaluru for the Aero-India show that kicks off next week, army sources said.

Eyewitnesses said the rotor blade of the helicopter stopped moving mid-air and the aircraft hit the terrace of a residential building before crashing to the ground.

The bodies of both pilots have been retrieved from the debris of the ill-fated chopper by the fire service and army rescue teams.

"There has been no significant damage to the building nor is there any civilian casualty," Nashik fire brigade chief officer Anil Mahajan told PTI.

Forensic experts from the army are busy gathering material from the crash site for an inquiry. Nashik District Magistrate P Velarasu said there was no civilian casualty and the helicopter as per the preliminary investigation crashed due to possible technical failure.

"All we can say is that both the pilots on board are dead. The helicopter crashed in a civilian area and there is no civilian casualty. Investigations are on," he said.

The bungalow was locked and its owners, identified as Bhagwan Trimbak Patil and his wife Meena, a teacher, were out for work when the mishap occurred.

In 2006, an army helicopter had crashed close the Combat Aviation Training Centre, about 4 Km from Nashik, killing three personnel, while an unmanned aerial vehicle had gone down in a civilian area at Vadner on Pathardi-Delvali road last year, but there was no casualty.

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