Naval helicopter crashes near Chennai, close shave for crew

Naval helicopter crashes near Chennai, close shave for crew

Three Naval personnel aboard an Indian Naval Chetak helicopter escaped unhurt even as the chopper crashed at INS Rajali Naval Air Base at Arakkonam on Monday. Arakkonam is about 70 km away from Chennai.

The helicopter was carrying out a dry winching dual sortie when the incident happened. The helicopter suffered damage to its rotors. A probe has been ordered.

Reports said all the three persons aboard the chopper were safe. It is believed that a technical snag could have led to the incident.

The incident comes days after an Indian Air Force’s MiG 27 crashed near Jodhpur on September 4, 2018. On June 8, Indian Air Force’s ‘Jaguar’ developed a snag while landing and had a minor accident. The pilot was on a routine training mission from the Jamnagar Air Force base.

INS Rajali, also informally known as Arakkonam Naval Air Station, is an Indian naval air station located near Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu in southern India. It operates under the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, and has the longest military runway in Asia.

The airfield at Arakkonam was constructed in early 1942, for use by Allies of World War II. The first recorded air operations from the field took place when the No. 2 Squadron of the Royal Indian Air Force, flying Westland Lysander aircraft flew support missions for the British Indian Army between May and Sep 1942.

The airfield was abandoned after the war and lay unused until the 1980s, when it was transferred to the Indian Navy who rehabilitated and commissioned the airfield as INS Rajali. INS Rajali was commissioned on 11 March 1992.