Four army officers dead in Sikkim chopper crash (Lead)April 22nd, 2011 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS
Gangtok, April 22 (IANS) Four army personnel, including two majors, were found dead in Sikkim Friday, with the wreckage of their helicopter being found a day after it went missing close to the Chinese border, officials said.
An army spokesperson said rescue teams Friday morning spotted the wreckage near the Yumthang Valley, about 160 km northeast of state capital Gangtok.
“The four on board, two pilots of the rank of major and two technicians, one a junior commissioned officer, were all dead,” the official said.
The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv helicopter of the Army Aviation Corps had taken off from Sewak Road Base in Siliguri Thursday on a routine training exercise close to the Chinese border when it lost radio contact with another helicopter flying in tandem.
Earlier, search operations had to be called off due to bad weather.
“Rescue teams and helicopters were again pressed into service early Friday and we located the wreckage. The bodies were being brought to the base camp,” the official said.
This is the first Dhruv with the Indian armed forces to have crashed since the fleet was inducted in 1998. The Dhruv is specifically designed and meant for high-altitude missions.
On Tuesday, 17 people were killed and six survived after a commercial helicopter crashed and burst into flames just before landing at one of India’s high altitude helipads in Arunachal Pradesh.
The chopper, owned by Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, caught fire just as it was about to land at the Tawang helipad located at an altitude of 11,000 feet, bordering China’s Tibet region.
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Tags: army aviation, army officers, army personnel, army spokesperson, arunachal pradesh, bad weather, chinese border, commercial helicopter, commissioned officer, helipads, indian armed forces, light helicopter, pawan hans helicopters, pawan hans helicopters ltd, radio contact, search operations, siliguri, tawang, tibet region, wreckage