An Indian Army Cheetah helicopter crashed near Mandala in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning, killing the pilot and the co-pilot of the chopper. Both pilots, Lieutenant Colonel VVB Reddy and Major Jayanth A , were earlier reported to be missing.
The aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Controller at 9:15 in morning. Five search parties of the Indian Army, Sashastra Seema Bal(SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were immediately launched. 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.
Indian Army’s Cheetah helicopter had taken off from Sange village in the district at 9 am and was headed for Missamari in Assam’s Sonitpur district.
Rohit Rajbir Singh, the Superintendent of Police, Special Investigation Cell (SIC), said that villagers had found the crashed helicopter ablaze in Dirang, and informed district officials.
Villagers from Bangjalep at Dirang located the chopper around 12.30 pm. It was still burning,” Mr Singh said.
Indian Army’s Eastern Commander Lt .Gen. R. P. Kalita and all ranks offer tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy and Maj Jayanth A, in the line of duty. The Army tweeted , ” Indian Army stands firm with the bereaved families “.