66 killed in aircrashes in NE in a decade
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2011, 22:52
Tezpur: At least 66 persons, including ministers, legislators, senior government officials and pilots, have been killed in air crashes in the North East during the past one decade.

Of the 66 killed in plane and helicopter crashes at least 47 were killed in Arunachal pRadesh alone during the past ten years, official sources said Thursday.

Officials sources said the air crashes had occurred due to high altitude terrain in the region, inclement weather conditions and mechanical defects owing to lack of proper maintenance.

The highest number of 17 people were killed when the M-17 helicopter crashed with 23 passengers, including five crew members of Pawan Hans, at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

The chopper had crashed near Tawang monastery as it was about to land killing the 17, including two children and three crew members, besides injuring 6 others.

On November 19 last year 12 people, including 11 IAF officials - two of them pilots - and one army officer, had died when an IAF M-17 helicopter crashed at Bomdir bordering China minutes after the copter took off from Tawang helipad on way to Guwahati.

The sources said another 13 passengers, including a pilot had died when an IAF AN-32 aircraft crashed on way to Jorhat in Assam from Machuka near Arunachal Pradesh border on June 9 last year.

At the same time an army helicopter (Chetak) had also crashed killing three persons near Kohima in Nagaland.

Earlier in 2004 another helicopter of Pawn Hans travelling from Guwahati to Shillong had crashed killing 16 passengers, including three legislators of the region, the sources said.

In 2002 a Pawn Hans helicopter had crashed near Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh killing five persons, including state's education minister Dera Natung, secretary education Sanjay Ladung and a union human resources development deputy secretary besides two pilots.

Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Tako Dabi was critical of the performance Pawan Hans.

"The company (Pawan Hans) dealing with transportation of passengers to and from the helipads located in Arunachal Pradesh has been using old air machines while our government has been paying well to the company for looking after safe landing of all passengers," he told PTI over phone.


First Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011, 22:52

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