The death toll in the military helicopter crash in a suburban area of Hanoi increased to 19 as three more soldiers died of serious injuries, sources told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday.
A Mi 171 helicopter crashed in a paddy field in Thach That District on the outskirts of the capital city at 7:53 am (Vietnam time) today when dozens of military personnel aboard were doing a parachute training exercise.
The crash was caused by “a technical problem,” said Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, vice chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army.
Lieutenant General Tuan added the pilot managed to take it away from nearby residential areas to avoid causing heavier human casualties.
There were 21 people on board the chopper at the time of the accident, including a flight crew of three members, two parachuting trainers, and 16 parachuting trainees.
Witnesses said they heard a small explosion and saw some debris from the chopper before it fell down to the ground and burst into flames.
They also reported to see plumes of smoke following a big noise coming from the copter engine.
Sixteen soldiers were killed then and five others seriously injured, multiple sources told Tuoi Tre from the scene.
Three of the injured could not make it in hospital later while the other two are given intensive care, the sources said.