4 out of 5 bodies found
Army authority has constituted a Court of Inquiry to investigate the causes of the crash of an Advanced Light Combat helicopter of the Indian Army in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Siang district, and bodies of four of the five personnel on board have been recovered so far, officials said on Saturday.
The crash took place on Friday morning in Migging village, around 25 km from the district headquarters. The helicopter, which took off from Likabali (in Assam), was on a regular sortie. Defence spokesman Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat said that the weather was good for resuming the search operations on Saturday.
“The pilots had more than 600 combined flying hours on ALH-WSI and over 1800 service flying hours between them. The aircraft was inducted into service in June 2015.
“Prior to the crash, the Air Traffic Control had received a ‘May Day’ call suggesting a technical or mechanical failure,” he said.
Names of five personnel, who were on board the helicopter, would be released after notification to the next of kin.
The Indian Army offers deepest condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved families.
Lt. Col Rawat said that the joint search operations, which were launched immediately after the mishap, with teams from the Army and Air Force were on even as the terrain is extremely challenging in terms of hills with steep gradients and thick jungle.
One MI-17, two Advanced Light Helicopters and three columns of the Indian Army were deployed in the search operations.
Another defence spokesman said that the cause of the crash at this stage is not known, and details are being ascertained.
Since the site of the crash is not connected by road, more details are still awaited.
Upper Siang’s Superintendent of Police, Jummar Basar, said the crash site is a mountainous region, and it would take time to complete the search operation.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday tweeted: “Shocked to hear about the news of Advanced Light Combat Helicopter crash near Tuting area in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The State Government has rushed the rescue team to the accident site and providing all assistance.”
“Received very disturbing news about Indian Army’s Advanced Light Helicopter crash in Upper Siang District in Arunachal Pradesh. My deepest prayers,” tweeted Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.
This was the second incident of an Army chopper accident in the state this month.
On October 5, a pilot was killed after a Cheetah helicopter crashed during a routine sortie in the forward areas near Tawang.