India's air force says it shot down its own helicopter




NEW DELHI (AP) - India's air force said Friday it accidently shot down one of its own helicopters as it engaged Pakistani fighter planes in an aerial confrontation in Indian-controlled Kashmir in February.

Air Chief Rakesh Singh Bhaduria said "it was a big mistake."

Six air force personnel were killed in the crash, which occurred close to the airport on the outskirts of the region's main city of Srinagar.

Bhaduria said the air force has completed an investigation of the incident and is taking punitive action against two officers.

The Press Trust of India news agency said a surface-to-air missile shot down the Mi-17 aircraft in Kashmir on Feb. 27.

India said its fighter planes hit a militant camp on a heavily forested hilltop in Balakot inside Pakistan on Feb. 26. It said the camp held members of a militant group responsible for a suicide car bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers.

Pakistan said its air force shot down an Indian fighter jet a day later in an aerial confrontation and took an Indian pilot prisoner. He was later released.

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