The UAV, which took off from the INS Parundu base at Uchipuli near here in the afternoon, crashed into the grove at Usilankattuvalasai just behind the naval station

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of the Indian Naval Air Station (INS) Parundu crashed into a coconut grove, close to a residential area, while returning to base after completing its routine surveillance operation on Friday.

The UAV, which took off from the INS Parundu base at Uchipuli near here in the afternoon, crashed into the grove at Usilankattuvalasai just behind the naval station around 3.10 pm, Commander Abhijit Barkataky told reporters at the crash site. Prima facie, the accident was caused by some technical flaw and the exact reason would be known only after a detailed investigation, he said.

The aircraft, INAS 922, was commissioned at the naval station in April last year for maritime surveillance.

It was a providential escape for M. Kaliammal (80) who came for a wash outside her house when the accident occurred. “We were inside the house, when we heard an explosion like noise. We rushed out and saw the aircraft,” N. Kaleeswari (29), a resident of Usilankattuvalasai, told The Hindu. The rotor blades of the aircraft broke into pieces, while the engine part was found between palm and coconut trees. The mangled remains were salvaged by a team of over 50 naval employees, who reached the accident site immediately.

This is the third setback suffered by INS Parundu in the last four months. On September 17, a Chetak IN 480 made an emergency landing at Therpogi near here after engine failure. On October 16, two pilots and an Air Crew Men Diver (ACMD) had a providential escape when Chetak IN 481 made an emergency landing at Dhanushkodi, the southern tip of Rameswaram island.