- Action is being taken against two officers, Air Force chief said
- "Big mistake": Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria
- Mi-17 V5 chopper was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar
The shooting down of an Mi-17 V5 helicopter by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 27 was a "big mistake", Air Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said today. Six IAF personnel and a civilian were killed in the incident, which took place on a day Indian and Pakistani fighter planes exchanged fire along the Line of Control.
Action is being taken against two officers.
"It was a big mistake on our part. We accept it," the Air Chief said, adding that a Court of inquiry had completed its sittings last week. "Our missile hit (the helicopter). This has been established. Administrative action and disciplinary action is being taken. Necessary steps are being taken so such incidents don't repeat," said Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria.
The Mi17 V5 chopper was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar a day after IAF fighters went into Pakistani territory and bombed a terror training facility in Balakot.
A court of inquiry found that the chopper was brought down by friendly fire from the Spyder air defence missile system at the Srinagar airbase.
The officers who handled the air defence system mistook the helicopter for an enemy aircraft, it was found. The helicopter crashed 10 minutes after take-off. Visuals showed the wreckage of the chopper in flames and a large number of villagers gathered around it.
The Mi-17 chopper broke into two and caught fire immediately.
The incident took place in the backdrop of heavy shelling and firing from across the border after the Balakot strike, which was carried out by India days after the terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed.
Later that day, Indian and Pakistani jets faced off in a dogfight in which Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani fighter plane.