The pilot of a military helicopter that crashed in Vietnam early on Monday morning may have diverted the aircraft at the last second to keep it from crashing into a crowded village, authorities say.
The MI-171 helicopter appeared to have technical issues and crashed about fifteen minutes after takeoff, exploding on impact. 16 military personnel were killed and five more were seriously injured; they are being cared for in a burn unit at a hospital in Hanoi, but a local doctor said the chances of them surviving their wounds are slim. The names of the victims have not been released to the public.
"Our priority now is to look after the five injured, some who are in serious condition," Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan said.
The pilot successfully diverted the craft away from a group of houses and a market, authorities said, and the helicopter crash landed in a field.
Those on board were reportedly training for a parachute exercise, but as of now there is no explanation for the crash or what went wrong on the aircraft.
"There were several people on the plane. We are examining the crash site now and the cause of the accident," a military source said.
Image via Thinkstock