Jamnagar: Nine defence personnel, including five officers, were on Thursday killed when two MI-17 choppers of Indian Air Force collided mid-air just after takeoff from an air base here.
"Nine IAF personnel--five officers and four other ranks-- have been killed in the crash near Sarmat firing range, 15 kms from Jamnagar city," an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.
The Russian-made choppers were on a training sortie and the crash occurred about five after they took off at 12 noon from the Jamnagar air base, he said.
The choppers were flying very close to each other when their upper rotors came in contact causing the collision. The tail rotor of one of the choppers also snapped, eyewitnesses said.
Asked why were the choppers flying so close to each other, the spokesperson said that the training mission involved such flying.
Indian Air Force officers, police officials and Jamnagar municipal corporation fire brigade reached the spot shortly after the crash. Fire brigade personnel doused the burning wreckage.
The spokesperson said that a court of inquiry has been ordered to determine the reasons behind the crash. The names of those killed have not been disclosed by IAF.