An army helicopter crashed at Sukna Military Camp in West Bengal. The incident took place around 11.45 am Wednesday morning in which three officers were killed and one junior commissioned officer critically injured.
Chopper was returning to the camp’s helipad when the incident occurred
The Cheetah helicopter was coming back to the camp’s helipad at Sukna, near Silgriui from a routine mission. While three died on the spot, a JCO was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. The five-seater cheetah chopper is a multitasking and strong vehicle designed for carrying operation over high altitude According to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) it also holds the world record in high altitude flying among all categories of the helicopter. The army’s 33 Corps is based at Sukna in the northern part of West Bengal and all aircraft of the Army are run by Army Aviation Corps.
Army has ordered inquiry into the incident
The reason behind the crash in not clear,however, Army has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Earlier there had been reports of army officers’ families demanding to discontinue these outdated machines. As per the report of India Today, the wives of several army personnel had demanded that the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters of the Army’s aviation unit be phased out as they have been involved in a number of incidents.
The report published in November 2014, stated that the choppers had been involved in over 190 crashed and had claimed 294 lives the end of 2014. Another report by NDTV from August this year states that the Indian Air Force has already discontinued these archaic machines in its Siachen pioneers unit citing its outdated technology.
This is not the first incident when an army aviation unit has crashed. A cheetah chopper was involved in a similar incident in October 2014 in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, wherein three army officers lost their lives, as per the report in News 18. In another incident occurred in February 2015, a cheetah crashed in Nagaland’s Dimapur district. However, the two pilots and an army official, fortunately, escaped unhurt according to t NDTV.