The shooting down of an Mi-17 V5 helicopter by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 27 was a “big mistake”, Air Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said today. Six IAF personnel and a civilian were killed in the incident, which took place on a day Indian and Pakistani fighter planes exchanged fire along the Line of Control.
Action is being taken against two officers.
“It was a big mistake on our part. We accept it,” the Air Chief said, adding that a Court of inquiry had completed its sittings last week. “Our missile hit (the helicopter). This has been established. Administrative action and disciplinary action is being taken. Necessary steps are being taken so such incidents don’t repeat,” said Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria.
IAF Chief on Mi-17 chopper crash in Srinagar on Feb 27: Court of Inquiry completed & it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper. We will take action against two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in future https://t.co/TgNS9RsKqb
— ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2019
A court of inquiry found that the chopper was brought down by friendly fire from the Spyder air defence missile system at the Srinagar airbase.
The officers who handled the air defence system mistook the helicopter for an enemy aircraft, it was found. The helicopter crashed 10 minutes after take-off. Visuals showed the wreckage of the chopper in flames and a large number of villagers gathered around it.
The Mi-17 chopper broke into two and caught fire immediately.
The incident took place in the backdrop of heavy shelling and firing from across the border after the Balakot strike.
Later that day, Indian and Pakistani jets faced off in a dogfight in which Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman Mig-21 was shot down and he was captured.