Ecuador probes string of Indian helicopter mishaps

Ecuador has restricted operations of three Indian-made Dhruv military helicopters after a string of accidents, Security Minister Cesar Navas said in an interview published on Thursday.

Quito: Ecuador has restricted operations of three Indian-made Dhruv military helicopters after a string of accidents, Security Minister Cesar Navas said in an interview published on Thursday.

Two people were injured Tuesday in the latest accident involving a Dhruv helicopter, in Ecuador's Amazon region.

The Dhruv FAE 605 caught fire after taking off at a military base in Tena, a provincial capital, on a flight to Guayaquil.

It was the fourth Dhruv to suffer an accident since 2009, of seven that Ecuador bought from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

"Three aircraft have had their operations restricted because they are undergoing a complete check," Navas told the newspaper El Universo.

Defense Minister Fernando Cordero has asked experts from Spain and France to look into the Dhruv accidents, local television Ecuavisa said.

In other incidents, a Dhruv helicopter suffered a mishap January 13 during a training mission on the outskirts of Guayaquil, but no one was injured.

In February 2014, a Dhruv assigned to the air force and sometimes used to transport President Rafael Correa crashed on a flight from Guayaquil to Quito, killing three of its four crew members.

Another of the helicopters crashed in October 2009 while making a low pass during a military ceremony in Quito, injuring the pilot and co-pilot.