New Delhi: Two people were killed as an Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) Cheetah helicopter crashed in Bhutan on Friday afternoon. The helicopter is manufactured by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
"In an unfortunate incident, an Indian Army helicopter has crashed at 1 pm near Yonphula in Bhutan. The helicopter went out of radio and visual contact soon after 1 pm. The helicopter was on way from Khirmu (Arunanchal) to Yonphula on duty," Army sources said.
The Cheetah helicopter took off from Khirmu in Arunachal Pradesh and lost contact near Yonphula and crashed, the Army said. The wreckage of the helicopter has been located.
"Ground search and rescue was launched immediately from Yonphula. The wreckage has been located. IAF and Army helicopters were also launched from Misamari, Guwahati and Hashimara," sources added.
The single-engine helicopter was being manned by an Indian and a Royal Bhutanese Army pilot, army sources said. Both the pilots were killed in the crash. The pilots have been identified as Lieutenant Colonel Rajneesh Parmar, and Captain Kalzang Wangdi of the Royal Bhutan Army.
Army's IMTRAT undertakes the training of pilots of friendly nations.
The Cheetah Helicopter (identical to LAMA SA 315B Helicopter of Eurocopter, France) is a high-performance helicopter designed for operation over a very wide range of weight, centre of gravity and altitude conditions. The five-seater Cheetah helicopter is versatile, multi-role, multi-purpose, highly manoeuvrable and rugged in construction. It holds the world record in high altitude flying among all categories of helicopters.