Wednesday, April 20, 2011

India probes helicopter crash near China border

GUWAHATI, India - India on Wednesday began an investigation into a civilian helicopter crash near the Chinese border that killed 17 people, officials said.
The Russian-designed passenger helicopter apparently caught fire while flying in the Tawang region of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

Government investigators travelled to the mountainous crash site to examine the wreckage.
“Two experts from the Director-General of Civil Aviation have arrived in Tawang to find out how and why the helicopter crashed,” state official N. Deb told AFP.
The aircraft, belonging to state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters, had 23 people on board including five crew members.
Police had put the toll at 18 but on Wednesday night one missing passenger was found near the site.
“After a four-hour search, she was found badly injured,” police inspector general S.B. Singh told AFP. “She remains in critical condition.”
Tawang police chief S.N. Musoby said injured survivors were airlifted to Guwahati, the largest city in northeastern India.
In November last year, 12 army personnel died when a military helicopter crashed after take-off near Tawang, which is situated close to the heavily fortified India-China border.
An unresolved dispute over the border triggered a brief but bloody war between China and India in 1962.

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