An Indian Air Force helicopter had to make an emergency landing at a forested location in Chhattisgarh Friday evening after Maoist rebels opened fire on it, police said. The crew, one of whom was injured, safely reached a nearby paramilitary camp.
Officers at the police headquarters here said that Mi-17 chopper, which took off from Jagdalpur town to Sukma district to airlift some troopers seriously injured in a gunfight with Maoists, went missing after rebels attacked it.
"Rebels opened fire on IAF helicopter when it tried to land in a conflict zone in Sukma district to airlift policemen who had received multiple gun shots in an encounter," Chhattisgarh's Director General of Police Ramniwas said.
"The helicopter is safe. It has landed in Temelwada and one of our radio operators has been hit," Ram Niwas added.
The pilot was forced to leave amid the intense firing and for some time, the helicopter went off radar but finally managed to make an emergency landing at a jungle area in Sukma district's Chintalnar.
Officials in Sukma said all the seven people on board safely reached a nearby Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). According to reports, the helicopter's wireless operator was injured in the firing but his condition was stated to be out of danger.
A policeman was killed and several others were wounded in a lengthy gun battle with Maoists at Pollampalli, some 500 km south from Raipur.