HANOI - At least 16 people are dead after an army helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Hanoi Monday morning.
The Vietnamese army helicopter was carrying out a parachute training exercise at around 8 a.m. on Monday when it crashed in an outlying district west of Hanoi, killing 16 people and leaving five seriously injured.
The helicopter crashed just 15 minutes after taking off from Hoa Lac airbase in Thach That district, local media reported.
Media reports carried photographs of the scene showing smoldering debris and clouds of black smoke.
One witness was quoted as saying she saw the helicopter flying overhead, apparently in trouble, before it crashed to the ground and burst into flames.
Deputy Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Chief of Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army confirmed the death toll.
He said the helicopter crashed due to technical errors.
Twenty-one people were on board, including 16 parachute recruits, two trainers and the flight crew, local media reported. The pilot is reported to be among the dead.
The injured have been sent to the National Institute of Burns, said Major General Vu Quoc Binh, head of the Medical Department of the Ministry of Defense.
He said it was a Russian-made MI-171 helicopter.
Much of Vietnam’s military hardware is made in Russia.
Local media report that four years ago, on the same date, a military pilot was injured when he ejected from a Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jet before it crashed during a training exercise in Me Linh district, not far from Monday's accident.