The crash of a military helicopter in central Vietnam on Thursday morning was due to strong winds, a colonel said, dismissing earlier reports that it had exploded.
Colonel Tran Van Quang said the helicopter, which was carrying eight men, was hit by a strong gust when it was about to land on Phu Quy Island's airport Binh Thuan Province at around 9 a.m.
The helicopter was about ten meters above the ground when the winds took it down.
The tail struck the ground hard, broken off and thrown 30 meters away from the aircraft, which hit the ground upside down in the military area of the airport.
Some of the debris hit nearby houses, breaking walls and doors.
All the crew members were saved. Three of them suffered minor injuries.
A local official said some of them still managed to crawl out of the helicopter after it crashed, but then fainted.
The official also said there was no explosion before the crash like previously reported.
He said local fire fighters sprayed water at the helicopter just to prevent explosion after the incident.
Quang said the aircraft, which was a Soviet-era medium twin-turbine helicopter Mi-8, was flying from the neighboring Ninh Thuan Province for a search and rescue mission.
He said air force engineers have checked the aircraft and said it can be still fixed for future use.
Around 80 Mi-8 helicopters are being used in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Officials said Vietnam is replacing its with Mi-17, a more modern version.
Three military helicopters have crashed in Vietnam since last July. Two previous crashes involved a Russian Mi-171 and a US-built UH-1, and killed 24 military personnel in total.
Fire fighters in Binh Thuan cool the helicopter after the crash. Photos: Tho Chau
The tail and other pieces of the aircraft are thrown far away.
One piece knocks down the wall of a house nearby.
Two of the crew members receive treatment for injuries at a hospital.