Arunachal Pradesh: Cheetah helicopter crash claims lives of two Army pilots
In a tragic incident, two pilots of the Indian Army were martyred when a Cheetah helicopter crashed near Mandala hills, west of Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh, on Thursday morning.
The helicopter was flying an operational sortie near Bomdila when it lost contact with the air traffic control (ATC) around 09:15 AM. The crash site was located by civilians who informed the authorities.
A search team recovered the bodies of the pilot and the co-pilot, and their families were informed. They are identified as Maj Jayanth A and Lt Col VVB Reddy.
The Army has ordered a court of inquiry into the cause of the crash. The Cheetah helicopter is a light utility helicopter used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
According to Lt Colonel Mahendra Rawat, Army Spokesperson, the helicopter was on an operational sortie from Missamari in Assam’s Sonitpur district to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a border with China and is a strategically important state for India. The Indian Army maintains a presence in the state to guard against any possible aggression from China.
I join the nation in saluting the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy & Maj Jayanth A in the line of duty at Mandala, #Arunachal.— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) March 16, 2023
My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Their sacrifice in service to Maa Bharti will ever be remembered. Om Shanti🙏
Jai Hind! pic.twitter.com/TPtMSbvf3H
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has mourned the death of the two Indian Army officers tweeting, ”I join the nation in saluting the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy & Maj Jayanth A in the line of duty at Mandala, #Arunachal. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Their sacrifice in service to Maa Bharti will ever be remembered. Om Shanti.”
This is not the first time a Cheetah helicopter has crashed in Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017, three Army officers were killed when their Cheetah helicopter crashed near Tawang. In 2015, two pilots were injured when their Cheetah helicopter crashed near Yangste.
In October 2022, an Indian Army’s ALH helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh’s Migging, killing five personnel onboard, including two pilots.
Cheetah Helicopter is considered one of the oldest choppers in the Army’s and IAF’s fleet.