Two of the MI-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force collided mid air near Jamnagar air force base in Gujarat on August 30, 2012. The collision killed nine of the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel which included five officers.
The incident took place near a firing range in Samrat village 20 kms from the Air Force station and 15 kms from Jamnagar town. Wing commander Gerard Galway said, “The helicopters crashed five minutes after they took off from Jamnagar air force station for a routine flying training mission”.
A court inquiry has been ordered by the IAF to establish the cause of the such an unusual mid air collision which claimed the lives of three wing commanders, four personnel below officer rank, a flying officer and a squadron leader. The inquiry in the court will ascertain if the pilots had violated the standard operating procedures.
Initial investigations says that both the helicopters were not maintaining the required distance while carrying out such drills. One of the senior officials said, “Normally the distance between two helicopters is about 60 metres when they take off simultaneously or are flying in close formation. The investigation will find out if there was any deviation from the SOP or a case of cockpit indiscipline”. Sources from IAF said that the Russian made helicopters belonged to the Gwalior base -17 squadron.