Ministry says there were radio contact problems before helicopter carrying Indian military chief crashed

Ministry says there were radio contact problems before aircraft spiralled down killing the Indian Air Force chief

Ministry says there were radio contact problems before helicopter carrying Indian military chief crashed

India’s Ministry of Defence said there was radio contact problems between the air force helicopter that went down in India on Saturday, killing the chief of the Indian Air Force, and air traffic control before the aircraft spiralled down, killing all on board.

“There were several alarms at the time the helicopter fell,” said chief spokesman Rohan Gunaratna in the televised briefing. He said the aircraft spiralled down as its radio communication system had been shut down or discontinued.

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Airway Security control officials on ground immediately moved their staff to other helipads in the area in anticipation of possible emergency landings and took off their uniforms before securing the area to ensure the safety of air traffic, Gunaratna said. He did not indicate if anyone spoke over the radio contact before the accident.

An Indian naval commander is due to break the news of the death of IAF chief, Bipin Rawat, after a helicopter carrying the general crashed in the Himachal Pradesh state on Saturday. Photograph: Praveen Khanna/EPA

The officer, D.S. Tripathi, is due to break the news of the death of IAF chief, Bipin Rawat, after a helicopter carrying the general crashed in the Himachal Pradesh state on Saturday.

Five army personnel were among six people killed in the crash, an Indian air force officer said, without saying whether the other victims belonged to the air force.

The helicopter took off from a military airbase in New Delhi, where Rawat was on an official visit.

The IAF had information that a “small helicopter” was scheduled to depart from the airbase, the officer said, adding that a technical check was made before Rawat boarded the aircraft.

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