A memorial service was solemnly held at the National Funeral Hall in Hanoi on July 11 for 18 officers and soldiers who sacrificed in a helicopter crash during a parachute-training mission earlier on the outskirts of Hanoi.

Party General Secretary and Secretary of the Party Central Committee’s Military Commission Nguyen Phu Trong attended the service and extended his deepest sympathy to families of the fallen officers and soldiers.

He wrote on the funeral book that the Party, State, Army and people of Vietnam will never forget their sacrifice for national construction and defence.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan, Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh, and former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu were among others at the service.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, former President Tran Duc Luong, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Pham Quang Nghi sent wreaths of flowers to pay tribute to the martyrs.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thanh, Secretary of the Party Committee and Commissar of the Air Defence-Air Force Service, delivered a funeral oration, highlighting the martyrs’ loyalty to the Party and people, as well as their determination to overcome difficulties to fulfil their tasks.

On July 7, the Russian-made MI-171 helicopter with 21 people on board on a parachute training mission lost contact and came down in Hoa Lac village, Binh Yen commune, Hanoi’s Thach That district at 7:46 am, only 16 minutes after it took off from Hoa Lac Airport.

The accident claimed the lives of 18 people, two of whom died at the hospital.

Three injured soldiers are now being treated at Le Huu Trac National Institute of Burns.

Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan on July 10 signed decisions to posthumously confer the Feat Order, first, second and third class, on the martyrs, and award the Feat Order, third class, to three injured soldiers.-VNA