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Two IAF choppers crash in Gujarat, 8 killed

Jamnagar, Aug 30 (): In a mid-air collision today between two Air Force helicopters that crashed near Sarmat village in Jamnagar in Gujarat,at least eight officers on board were reportedly killed after the accident took place.

The two MI-17 choppers of Indian Air Force collided mid-air within a short while after  takeoff from an air base near Sarmat village of this district in Gujarat. The choppers were said to be on a training sortie, said the IAF officials. Other than eight dead, three officers were also said to be injured, said a latest report.

“The accident took place 15 kms from Jamnagar city, in which two choppers collided soon after takeoff and crashed near the village,” said the villagers who witnessed the accident. The officers from Indian Air Force, police officials, Jamnagar municipal corporation and fire brigade reached the spot the moment they were informed about the crash that took place near the air base in a residential area. The officials are investigating the situation, added the officers.

Reports said MI-17 helicopters involved in the counter-Maoists operation, came downwards crashing after their fans collided with each other. Officials claimed the crash to be pilot’s error; rescue operations are in process.  Four officers were said to be occupying each chopper, said the officers, who refused to divulge further details.

The three injured have been taken to hospital. The incident took place very close to the air force base in a village. The entire area has been surrounded by the officials of the air force and the police, said the Collector of Jamnagar district. “The helicopters left sharply at 12 noon and the collision took place at exact 12:05 pm,” said Captain MG Mehta, Defence PRO Gujarat.

A court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident, said an IAF spokesperson from New Delhi.

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