2 Pilots Killed As Indian Army Cheetah Helicopter Crashes In Bhutan
India Army pilot who died in the crash was of Lieutenant colonel (Lt Col) ranks while the other was a Bhutanese Army pilot training with the Indian Army.
Informing about the incident, Indian Army spokesperson Col Aman Anand said, "An Indian Army Helicopter crashed at 1 pm near Yongphulla in Bhutan. Helicopter went out of radio and visual contact soon after 1 pm. It was enroute from Khirmu (Arunanchal Pradesh) to Yongfulla on duty."
Ground Search and Rescue (SAR) operation was launched immediately from Yongfulla, Anand said adding that the wreckage has been located.
Indian Air Force and Army Helicopters SAR were also launched and officials are waiting for more information.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has expressed grief on the death of two pilots in the accident. "Saddened to know that two pilots- an Indian army officer and a Royal Bhutan army officer, have lost lives when an #IndianArmy helicopter crashed in #Bhutan. My heartfelt condolences to their family members. May God give them strength," the Rajasthan CM said in a tweet.
The chopper belonged to Indian Army's 667 Army Aviation Squadron based in Misamari in Assam. The chopper was returning after dropping an Indian Army Major General posted with Indian Army Military Training Team deployed in Bhutan.
As a part of the arrangement between Indian and Bhutan, Bhutanese pilots have been training with the Indian Army since 2014-15. Cheetahs are 1960 vintage planes which have been in the Indian Army for the last over 40 years and several attempts to replace them have failed due to one reason or the other.
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