'Big mistake' to shoot down our own chopper: Indian Air Force

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'Big mistake' to shoot down our own chopper: Indian Air Force
'Big mistake' to shoot down our own chopper: Indian Air Force

New Delhi : The shooting down of an Mi-17 V5 helicopter by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 27 was a "big mistake", said Air Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Friday.

A total of six IAF personnel and a civilian was killed on the incident that took place on a day Indian and Pakistani fighter planes were exchanging fire along the Line of Control, following Balakot air strike.

The Indian Air Force had initiated action against the two IAF officers related to the mistake.

"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.

What had happened?

One day after the Balakot Air Strike, the Mi17 V5 chopper was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar. The matter went to the court which found that it was an incident happened during the friendly fire from the Spyder air defence missile system at the Srinagar airbase.

The officer in charge at that time mistook its own chopper as the one of the enemies and ordered to eliminate it. 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.

Later that day, Indian and Pakistani jets faced off in a dogfight in which Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani fighter plane.