The crashed helicopter | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: An ALH Dhruv Mark 3 helicopter of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) met with an accident during trials on Sunday at around 12.20 pm in Kochi.
"The incident happened while the helicopter was taking off for a training sortie. No casualties were reported", said the officials. Three persons sustained injuries and were shifted to a private hospital in Angamaly. However, their injuries are not serious.
The chopper was around 25 feet high when it had to make a forced landing, as informed by ICG officials. However, it is unclear what led to the accident. A probe has been ordered.
"CG 855 an ALH Mk III based at Kochi got airborne from Cochin International Airport at about 1225 h for inflight checks after fitment of control rods on aircraft," ICG said in a statement.
"Prior to the inflight checks, the HAL and ICG Team had carried out extensive and satisfactory ground trials today itself," they added.
"Immediately after takeoff, when the chopper was at about 30-40 feet above the ground, the cyclic controls (which controls longitudinal and lateral movement of aircraft) did not respond," the officials said.
"Showing exemplary professionalism and presence of mind, the pilot with bare minimum controls manoeuvred the aircraft away from the main runway to avoid blocking the runway at the international airport," the ICG said.
"The pilot thereafter cushioned the landing to the extent possible in order to save the three souls onboard. The aircraft veered to the left and crashed onto the left side of the main runway," ICG said.
As a result of the incident, the Cochin International Airport authority temporarily suspended the airport's operations for two hours.
Airport officials stated that the ALH was removed from the operational area around 2 pm and the runway was cleared substantially after a safety inspection.
Meanwhile, Indigo Airways flights from Bengaluru and Ahmedabad and an Oman Airlines flight and flight from Mali were rerouted following the accident. The runway was reopened later.
The fleet of ALH Dhruv choppers has been grounded since March 8 after a Navy chopper met with an accident off the coast of Mumbai.
With agency inputs