Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne on Friday reached Jamnagar to reassure the pilots and technicians at the Indian Air Force airbase there -- which lost nine personnel in a mid-air collision involving two Mi-17 helicopters.
The two choppers belonging to the elite Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment carrying rockets had collided with each other shortly after take-off from the air base on Thursday, killing all nine personnel on board.
ACM Browne reached the air base soon after taking over as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee from Admiral Nirmal Verma, who is retiring today.
"ACM Browne, who took over as the COSC earlier in the day, is at Jamnagar to meet the pilots, technicians and ground crew at the base and to reassure them to continue with their mission," said IAF officials.
The Court of Inquiry under an Air Commodore-rank officer has started investigations, they said, adding that the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have been recovered from the crash site and will help in ascertaining exact reasons behind the crash.
The Air Force chief acknowledged the fine job done by them and urged them to continue to do so with adequate margins of operational safety.
He offered his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and assured them full support from the IAF family.
Meanwhile, three An-32s have been deployed by the Air Force to send the bodies of the crash victims to their families at different places including Jaipur [ Images ], Thanjavur, Lucknow [ Images ], Patna, Ambala, Kochi and Pathankot.