Two pilots were killed after a government helicopter crashed at an airport in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Thursday, PTI reported.
The pilots were identified as Captain Gopal Krishna Panda and Captain AP Shrivastava.
Senior Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said that the accident took place during a practice session at the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur at around 9.10 pm, NDTV reported.
The Chhattisgarh government said that the initial investigation suggests technical malfunction as the cause of the crash.
“A detailed technical investigation at the behest of Directorate General of Civil Aviation and state government shall be undertaken to ascertain the exact cause,” the government said in a statement.
The chopper, manufactured by Italy-based AgustaWestland, was facing technical problems for several years, The Indian Express reported. It was bought in 2007 by the then Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Raman Singh.
The Congress party had alleged that the helicopter was bought at a hiked price, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel expressed grief over the incident.
“Just got the sad news about the state helicopter crash at the airport in Raipur,” Baghel wrote in a tweet. “In this tragic accident, both our pilots – Captain Panda and Captain Srivastava – died. May God give strength to their family members in this time of grief.”