Pilot killed as Army’s Cheetah helicopter crashes near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh

An Army helicopter that was flying in the forward area near Tawang, one of India’s last points on the China border, crashed during a routine sortie on Wednesday, killing one of its two pilots.

“An army aviation Cheetah helicopter flying in the forward area near Tawang has crashed on 05 October (today) at around 10am during a routine sortie. Both the pilots were evacuated to nearest military hospital…,” a statement released by an Army public relations officer at Tezpur in Assam said.

The statement said that while one of the pilots succumbed to injuries later, the second pilot was undergoing treatment.

Sources identified the deceased pilot as Lieutenant Colonel Saurabh Yadav.

The Army has not revealed the cause of the air crash. “Details are being ascertained,” its statement said.

Arunachal Pradesh has had a history of chopper crashes in recent years, bad weather being the reason behind most of them. Since 2010, over 40 people have lost their lives in six helicopter crashes in the Northeast state. They include former chief minister Dorjee Khandu.

Another Cheetah helicopter of the Army crashed near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in March. A pilot died in the incident while the co-pilot was severely injured.

Former chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat died along with his wife and 12 others after an Air Force Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu in December 2021.

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