The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) has rushed a team of senior specialists to Ecuador to assist investigations in the crash of an India-made helicopter.

The sale of a fleet of helicopters was India’s first major defence exports outside its neighbourhood and, if handled well, could open up opportunities in other Latin American countries.

The HAL backed the Dhruv, the advanced light helicopter (ALH), also being inducted into the Indian armed forces.

The company said the copter ensured the safety of the crew and occupants. In the Ecuadorian crash both pilots ejected to safety.

An aberration

It referred to the extensive flight testing and evaluation by potential users of 80 ALHs over 39,000 hours on difficult missions such as the Siachen glacier, search and rescue in all terrain, suggesting that the crash was an aberration.

The Ecuadorian Air Force had carried out several missions in Dhruvs in difficult terrain and logged 860 hours.

“It appears from the reported statements attributed to the top officials of the Ecuadorian Air Force that the helicopter may have been manoeuvred excessively. The built-in safety features have ensured that both the pilots walked away to safety without any major injuries,” the company said.

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