2 Pilots Killed As Army Helicopter Crashes In Arunachal, Wreckage Found

Guwahati: An Indian Army chopper crashed near Mandala in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning, killing the pilot and the co-pilot of the helicopter. The two pilots — a Lieutenant Colonel and a Major — were earlier reportedly missing. The aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Controller at 9:15 am, the army said.

Five search parties of Indian Army, Sashastra Seema Bal and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were immediately launched, and the wreckage of the aircraft was found near Village Banglajaap East of Mandala, the army said, adding that a Court of Inquiry is being ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The chopper had taken off from Sange village in the district at 9 am and was headed for Missamari in Assam’s Sonitpur district.

“Army Aviation Cheetah helicopter flying an operational sortie near Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh was reported to have lost contact with the ATC at around 09:15 AM on 16 March 23.

It is reported to have crashed near Mandala, west of Bomdila. Search parties have been launched,” the army had said. Rohit Rajbir Singh, the Superintendent of Police, Special Investigation Cell (SIC), explained that villagers had found the crashed chopper ablaze in Dirang, and informed district officials.

“Villagers from Bangjalep at Dirang located the chopper around 12.30 pm. It is still burning,” Mr Singh said. The area has no mobile connectivity and the weather is extremely foggy with visibility as low as five meters, he added.

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