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IAF crash kills seven

New Delhi, July 25: Seven air force soldiers were killed when the helicopter they were flying in crashed near Sitapur in western Uttar Pradesh this evening.

The Dhruv chopper was on a mission from Bareilly to Allahabad. Allahabad is the headquarters of the Central Air Command.

Air force spokesperson Group Captain Gerard Galway said the pilots of the chopper gave a “May-Day” (distress/emergency) call an hour and four minutes into the flight. The flight was expected to take an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Allahabad.

The chopper had taken off from Bareilly at 3.53pm.

A helicopter pilot with the IAF with experience in flying Dhruvs said the “May-Day” call meant that a sudden development beyond the pilots’ control had taken over the helicopter. This could have been an external force like a bird-hit. But that still does not explain why the pilots could not make an emergency landing with the twin-engined copter.

“It is feared there are no survivors,” an IAF release said.