Crash site of the Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force.  (File Photo/ANI)
Crash site of the Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force. (File Photo/ANI)

Mi-17 chopper pilots killed in friendly fire awarded gallantry medals

ANI | Updated: Jan 26, 2020 01:18 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 26 (ANI): Two Indian Air Force pilots, Squadron Leaders Siddharth Vashisht and Ninad Mandavgan, who were killed in the Mi-17 chopper crash in Budgam (Jammu and Kashmir) due to own missile fire on 27 February 2019, have been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry posthumously on Republic Day.
The four other IAF personnel who were on board the chopper, including flight engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey, Sergeant Vikrant Sehrawat, Corporals Deepak Pandey and Pankaj Kumar -- have been awarded 'Mention-in-Despatches' (MID) posthumously.
The six personnel on board the chopper were killed after being hit by the SPYDER air defence missile system in Budgam near Srinagar. In addition to the six IAF personnel, a civilian was killed on the ground.
Soon after taking over, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had stated that the Mi-17 chopper crash was a "big mistake" on part of the Air Force. "Court of Inquiry has completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper," Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria had said.
The helicopter was shot down when the Indian air defences were on high alert following the February 26 airstrikes in which a terrorist camp was targetted in Pakistan. (ANI)

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