23 feared dead as helicopter crashes while trying to land

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Old 20-Apr-2011
23 feared dead as helicopter crashes while trying to land

Guwahati: A commercial helicopter carrying 23 people, including five crew members, crashed into a hill and went up in flames on Tuesday as it tried to land at one of India's high altitude helipads in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The chopper, owned by Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, crashed into a hill just as it was about to land at the Tawang helipad, which is located at an altitude of 11,000 feet and borders China's Tibet region.

"There were 18 passengers, of whom two were minors, and two pilots, besides three crew members, on board the helicopter when it crashed into a hill just as it was preparing to land at Tawang," Takam Sanjay, a lawmaker from Arunachal Pradesh, told IANS.

Burst into flames

"Witnesses said the chopper went up in flames and we don't know if there were any survivors."

The Mi-17 helicopter took off from Guwahati, the main city in Assam, to Tawang at 12.50pm and crashed around 13.57pm

Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd operates daily chopper services between Guwahati and Tawang and other remote locations in Arunachal Pradesh and the rest of the northeast.

"We are yet to get details of the accident and don't know about any casualties," an official of the Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd said. All the passengers were Indians and mostly tourists.

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