Seventeen members of the Colombian security forces have died in a helicopter crash north-west of Bogota, the army has said.

The wreckage of the army helicopter was found on Monday in Pensilvania in the central province of Caldas, a day after the aircraft had gone missing.

The army said it suspected bad weather may have been to blame for the crash.

Accidents are not uncommon in this area as mountain ranges and unpredictable weather make flying difficult.

Last August, 16 police officers died when a helicopter crashed in low cloud in Antioquia province.

The latest incident involved a helicopter that had been on its way from Quibdo, in the northern Choco province, to an army base in Tolemaida when it disappeared.

The army said its mission was “operational”.

‘Thorough investigation’

There have been instances in the past when army helicopters have been downed by rebel groups.

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Image courtesy of Getty (The helicopter that crashed is a MI-17 similar to the one shown here)