Navy copter crashes at Dabolim airport; 3 killed

Story Summary: 

Thick smoke billows out of the Chetak helicopter, which crashed while landing at the Dabolim airport on Monday.

VASCO: Two copilots and a technical sailor onboard the Chetak helicopter of the Indian Navy were killed on Monday after the helicopter crashed while landing towards eastern side of the Dabolim airport runway.

The Flag Officer Commanding Goa Naval Area, Rear Admiral Balvinder Singh Prahar said the rotor of the helicopter, which had flown from Mumbai to Dabolim, broke off while landing.

Speaking to the media soon after the tragedy, Rear Admiral Prahar said the ill-fated helicopter was flying from Mumbai to Bangalore for a routine maintenance and was making a scheduled re-fueling halt at the Dabolim airport in Goa. However, while landing at the Dabolim airport, it crashed near the eastern side of the runway at around 9.51 a.m.

The two copilots onboard the chopper identified as Lt Commander Dharmendra Singh and Lt Commander Rahul Tiwari and technical sailor identified as H Krishanan charred to death when the copter was engulfed by flames. A thick smoke billowed out of the crashed chopper making the Indian Navy’s emergency team to rush to the site.

Fire tenders from the Indian Navy and other rescue teams cordoned off the site and made necessary arrangement to shift the dead bodies and wreckage of the chopper. The incident did not make any impact on other flight operations at the Dabolim airport.

Rear Admiral Prahar disclosed that a board of inquiry would look into the exact cause of the crash within four weeks.

"The exact reason behind the crash would come out after the inquiry," Rear Admiral Prahar said.

However, he said the preliminary investigation has hinted at technical fault as one of the reasons behind the crash. An eyewitness claimed that the ill-fated chopper crashed after a bird stuck in the blades when it was about to land at the Dabolim airport.

The eyewitness told The Navhind Times that soon after the bird-hit the Chetak helicopter was in flames and within few seconds it came down towards the tail end of the eastern side of the runway and crashed.

Students and teachers of Keshav Smruti High School at Alto-Dabolim, which is located in the vicinity of the Dabolim airport, witnessed the chopper crash incident.

The Vasco police have conducted the panchanama of the three dead bodies and have sent them to the naval Jeevanti Hospital at INS Gomantak for postmortem. The three dead bodies will be flown to their respective native places for final rites.