Itanagar : Two pilots on board a Cheetah helicopter of the Army were killed when it crashed near Mandala in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning, a defence spokesperson said.
The deceased officers have been identified as Lt Colonel VVB Reddy and his co-pilot Major Jayanth A, he said.
Defence spokesperson Lt Colonel Mahendra Rawat said in Guwahati that the helicopter was on an operational sortie from Missamari in Assam’s Sonitpur district to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
The flight encountered “inconducive weather” and was returning to Missamari when it crashed, he said.
“The helicopter lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) around 9.15 am. Five search parties of the Indian Army, SSB and ITBP were immediately launched. The wreckage of the aircraft was found near Banglajaap east village of Mandala,” Rawat said.
“A Court of Inquiry is ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” he added.
Rohit Rajbir Singh, the superintendent of police, Special Investigation Cell (SIC), said villagers had found the crashed chopper ablaze in Dirang, and informed district officials.
“Villagers from Bangjalep at Dirang located the chopper around 12.30 pm,” Singh said. The area has no mobile connectivity and the weather is extremely foggy with visibility as low as five meters, he said to media.