Updated December 18th, 2021 at 08:24 IST
15 military chopper accidents since March 2017, 31 people killed: Defence Ministry
MoS Ajay Bhatt informed crashes in the last 5 years included four Advanced Light Helicopters, four Cheetah, two ALH versions, three Mi-17V5 and a Chetak.
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The government on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that a total of 31 people were killed in accidents involving 15 military helicopters since March 2017. The Defence Ministry provided details of accidents that included the December 8 crash of the Mi-17V5 near Coonoor. The 15 choppers that met with accidents included four Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), four Cheetah, two ALH (weapon system integrated) versions, three Mi-17V5, a Mi-17 and a Chetak.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt was replying to a question in the house when he shared details of all helicopter accidents in the last five years. He said that there have been 15 accidents in total across services, that killed 31 people and injured another 20. According to the data provided, four accidents of Mi-17V5 helicopters of IAF have taken place in the last 5 years that killed 21 people. This includes the crash recent in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu which took place on December 8, where all 14 people along with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat had lost their lives in the crash.
31 killed and 20 injured in 15 chopper crashes since 2017
According to MoS Defence Ajay Bhatt, the list of crashes begin with the accident involving a Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Air Force on March 15, 2017. However, no one was killed or injured in the crash. Following this, seven helicopters each from the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, and one from the Navy have been involved in accidents.
The total number of deceased includes the 14 people killed in the IAF chopper crash near Coonoor where CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 armed forces personnel were lost their lives. Meanwhile, replying to a specific query on the crash of an ALH Rudra (WSI) in Ranjeet Sagar dam near Pathankot on August 3, Bhatt informed there was no restriction on the helicopter flying over the water body. "Lt Col A S Bath and Capt Jayant Joshi lost their lives after their helicopter Rudra-WSI crash-landed in Ranjeet Sagar Dam on August 3. There is no restriction on the helicopter flying over water," the minister said.
"However, low flying over water needs specific authorisation. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the crash," he added. Following this, Bhatt was asked whether the pilots were not given specialised training required to fly over water, to which the minister replied that all training has been structured to meet the operational requirements. He then informed that operations over a large expanse of water are restricted. Meanwhile, replying to a security-related question, the minister mentioned the Pathankot incident and said that the government approved an integrated smart power fencing called Integrated Perimeter Security System (IPSS) for 23 airbases following the attack that took place in 2016.
(With PTI inputs)
Published December 18th, 2021 at 08:24 IST