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IAF Dhruv helicopter crashes in UP; 7 killed

Last updated on: July 25, 2014 23:00 IST

IAF Dhruv helicopter crashes in UP; 7 killed

Sharat Pradhan

In a major disaster, an Advanced Light Helicopter ‘Dhruv’ of the Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in a village in Sitapur district, barely 35 km from Lucknow, killing all seven occupants, including the pilot and co-pilot, on Friday afternoon.

The chopper was being flown by Wing Commander T N Vij. The names and ranks of the other occupants were not disclosed by IAF authorities.

However, it is learnt that all of them were commissioned officers.

According to Sitapur District Magistrate J P Singh, “The chopper (ALH-370) was on its way from Bareilly to Allahabad when it suddenly went up in flames after a mid-air blast, which brought it crashing down in an open field in Pandit-Purwa village, around 4.57 pm.”

“Eyewitnesses in the village told us that they saw the helicopter dangling in the air followed by a loud bang, after which the aircraft literally nose-dived into the paddy fields below,” he said.

After it hit the ground, its burning splinters went flying in different directions and were spread in a radius of some 500 metres, from where bodies of the victims were later recovered.

Singh said, “Some villagers claimed that initially they thought of getting closer to the site of the crash to help those caught up in flames, but none could do so.” By the time the police could reach the spot along with the fire brigade, most of the aircraft was burnt and bodies were strewn all over the area.

Subsequently, an IAF relief team led by an officer of air commodore rank also reached the spot from the nearby Bakshi-ka-Talab air force station on the outskirts of Lucknow. While IAF officials were unavailable for comment, they were stated to have instituted a high-level probe into the crash.

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Image: Representation image