Seven die in IAF helicopter crash

An Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) of the Indian Air Force crashed near UP's Sitapur district, near Lucknow, at about 4:57 pm today, killing all seven people on board, police said.

The helicopter was took off from Bareilly at 3:53 pm and was on a mission to Allahabad. The pilot sent a 'may-day' (emergency) call and soon after that all radar and radio contact was lost.

A total of seven IAF personnel, including two pilots were on board. It is feared that there are no survivors.

Before crashing into an agricultural field, the chopper reported some technical problems to the Air Traffic Control (ATC), police said. The helicopter then crashed and caught fire.

The Dhruv helicopter that crashed today had been built indigenously by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore.

About 150 Dhruv helicopters are in use by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The entire fleet has been grounded at least twice in the past because of technical snags, including engine trouble.