ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- A military helicopter with a pilot onboard crashed near the Anad air base in Yemen's southern province of Lahj on Monday, a government official told Xinhua.
Technical problems caused the chopper to go down as it was preparing to take off in the Anad air base located in Lahj province, the pilot died later with serious injuries, the local government official said, requesting anonymity.
The accident took place at around 9.25 a.m. local time, when the military helicopter encountered some technical problems and crashed near the air base, the government official said.
The Anad military air base used by U.S. army to train Yemeni counter-terrorism forces in combating al-Qaida militants in the country's restive south.
A military official told Xinhua anonymously that "the chopper crashed and caused a huge blast in the area. The reasons of the incident are under investigation."
A witness said that "the plane burst into a pillar of flame and smoke that could be seen up to one kilometer away."
The country's Defense Ministry confirmed the incident in a brief text message stating that "a Russian-made MiG-21 crashed during training mission in the Anad air base. Technical problems were behind the incident."
Yemen has undergone a political transition after the stepping down of former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh earlier this year under a peaceful transfer of power backed by the United Nations.
Restoring security in Yemen has become a priority after last year's unrest created security vacuum which was exploited by the insurgent al-Qaida wing to control swaths of remote land and expand activities to major cities.
The United States has beefed up anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, a year after political upheaval that allowed scores of terrorists to gain foothold in country's south.