Guwahati: An Indian Army Aviation Corps Cheetah helicopter crashed near Mandala in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, on Thursday morning. The crash resulted in the deaths of the chopper’s pilot, Lieutenant Colonel VVB Reddy, and the co-pilot, Major Jayanth A.
The Army said the chopper had taken off from Sange village in the district at 9am and was headed for Missamari Army base in Assam’s Sonitpur district. It was reported to be missing after it lost contact with the air traffic controller at around 9.15am.
#LtGenRPKalita #ArmyCdrEC & All Ranks offer tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy & Maj Jayanth A, in the line of duty at Mandala, #ArunachalPradesh while carrying out operational flying of Cheetah Helicopter. #IndianArmy stands firm with the bereaved families pic.twitter.com/XimeZQ0pan— EasternCommand_IA (@easterncomd) March 16, 2023
Following this, five parties of the Indian Army, Sashastra Seema Bal and Indo-Tibetan Border Police were immediately dispatched on a search-and-rescue mission. The Army said the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Banglajaap, a village in Mandala’s east.
A court of inquiry has been set up to ascertain the cause of the accident.
#SSB search team reaches location of where Army Helicopter was crashed today. Dead bodies of both pilots also located from the site.— Manish Shukla (@manishmedia) March 16, 2023
#arunachalpradesh https://t.co/patIC3rHOz pic.twitter.com/Q7ssrq0fWf
Rohit Rajbir Singh, the superintendent of police, special investigation team of Arunachal Pradesh, told reporters that villagers had found the crashed chopper, which was still burning, in Dirang, and informed district officials. He also said that the area had no mobile connectivity and the weather was extremely foggy with visibility as low as five metres.