Army chopper Cheetah crashes in Arunachal; two pilots still missing

The helicopter is said to have crashed near Mandala, west of Bomdila, according to the Army, and a search for the pilots has begun.
On Thursday, an Army helicopter that was in the area of Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh, during an operational sortie crash. At around 9.15 a.m., the helicopter was reported to have lost contact with air traffic control. According to reports, it crashed near Mandala, west of Bomdila. Search and rescue teams have been formed. A Lieutenant Colonel and a Major were reportedly on board the Cheetah when it crashed near Mandala as it was traveling from Senge to Missamari.

Arunachal Police later stated that the chopper lost contact midway between Senge village and Missamari. The wreckage was discovered by villagers from Bangjalep in Dirang around 12.30 p.m.

Additionally, it stated that there were two pilots on board and that the Army, SSB, and police search and rescue teams had already departed for the scene. According to the local police, photos of the area are currently unavailable due to a lack of connectivity. It also stated that the weather in the area is extremely foggy, with a visibility of only 5 meters.

“An Army Aviation Cheetah helicopter that was conducting an operational sortie near Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh, reportedly lost contact with the ATC around 9:15 this morning. According to reports, the plane crashed near Mandala, west of Bomdila. Teams of searchers have been sent out, “a statement from Lt Col Mahendra Rawat, PRO Defence Guwahati.

The force has launched a search for two missing crew members, a lieutenant colonel, and a major.
A search operation is currently underway and more information is awaited.

The IAF and Army’s aging Chetak and Cheetah helicopters are in desperate need of replacement, even though they are the forces’ lifeline in high-altitude areas. Currently, approximately 200 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are in service.

Army Chief General Manoj Pande stated last month that the Army plans to induct approximately 95 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) and 110 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in the future as part of improving its overall combat aviation profile.

Updates as per the latest updates at the time of publishing this news item. Image for representation purpose only.

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