Kochi, Sep 27 (UNI) A Pawan Hans helicopter chartered by the Lakshadweep Administration crashlanded near the Kavaratti helipad in the islands today but the pilot and two crew members on board escaped with minor injuries, Lakshadweep police and administration officials said.
The Dauphin N3 chopper was returning to Kavaratti from Kochi, where it had evacuated some sick people from Kiltan Islands yesterday, Lakshadweep Administration Information Officer P K Kasali told UNI.
According to official sources, as the helicopter was nearing the Kavaratti helipad around 1130 hrs, it apparently developed some ''mechanical malfunction'' and the pilot lost control.
The chopper crashlanded near the helipad but Capt. A Govil (56), Capt. P Rathore (53) and engineer R P Singh (50) escaped with minor cuts and bruises.
''The three had a miraculous escape as the helicopter crashed on some bushy area near the helipad and not in the sea,'' senior police officials said from Kavaratti on phone.
Local police, administration and fire service personnel rushed to the site for rescue operations.
''The rotor of the helicopter was completely damaged. But the pilot and crew members are safe. An inquiry will be conducted into the mishap,'' police said.
The helicopter, chartered by the Lakshadweep Administration, has been in service for the past few years and is generally used for casualty evacuation.