Indian military helicopters collide in mid-air: 9 dead

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2012 7:10 AM
Indian military helicopters collide in mid-air: 9 dead

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Two military helicopters collided in mid-air during a training sortie over India's western state of Gujarat on Tuesday, killing nine Air Force personnel, the government said.

Television pictures showed skeletal, charred remains of the Russian-made MI-17 multi-utility helicopters in what seemed like a sparsely populated area. The wreckage was surrounded by police, firefighters and military officials.

Officials quoted by media said the crash site was a military area near the Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat, a state bordering Pakistan. No casualties or loss of property on the ground was reported.

The country's military has been plagued by often fatal accidents due to obsolete hardware. More than half of the 872 MiG fighters India bought from Moscow since the early 1960s have crashed.

India plans to spend about $100 billion over the next 10 years to upgrade largely Soviet-era military equipment.

(Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Ron Popeski)