Indian Army chopper crashes in Bhutan, both pilots killed

Indian Army Cheetah chopper crashed near Yongphulla in Bhutan. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 27, 2019, 09.56 PM (IST)

An Indian Army Cheetah chopper crashed near Yongphulla in Bhutan on Friday killing both its pilots including a Bhutanese Army Captain.

The two pilots have been identified as Lieutenant Colonel Rajneesh Parmar of Indian Army and Captain Kalzang Wangdi of Royal Bhutan Army.

The single-engine Cheetah Helicopter of the Indian Army was on duty en-route from Khirmu (Arunanchal) to Yongfulla (Bhutan) when it crashed near Yongphulla at about 1 pm, Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said.

The chopper belonged to Indian Army`s 667 Army Aviation Squadron based in Misamari in Assam.

The chopper was returning after a commitment with an Indian Army Major General posted with Indian Army Military Training Team (IMTRAT) deployed in Bhutan, Indian Army sources said.

As a part of the arrangement between Indian and Bhutan, Bhutanese pilots have been training with the Indian Army since 2014-15.

Cheetahs are 1960 vintage planes which have been in the Indian Army for the last over 40 years and several attempts to replace them have failed due to one reason or the other.

"In an unfortunate incident, an Indian Army Helicopter has crashed at 1 pm near Yongphulla in Bhutan. The helicopter went out of radio and visual contact soon after 1 pm. The helicopter was on way from Khirmu (Arunanchal) to Yongphulla on duty," said Anand.

"Ground search and rescue were launched immediately from Yongphulla. The wreckage has been located," he said. 

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The two pilots have been identified as Lieutenant Colonel Rajneesh Parmar of Indian Army and Captain Kalzang Wangdi of Royal Bhutan Army