Guwahati: At least five Army personnel are believed to have died in a helicopter crash of the Indian Army near Migging village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Siang district, about 25 km from Tuting town.

Officials said there were five people on board the twin-engine indigenously-developed helicopter belonging to the Army Aviation wing at the time of the accident.

At about 10:43 am on Friday, a weapon system integrated version of an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) of the Indian Army crashed at Migging village in Upper Siang district of the border state.

Search and rescue teams sighted at least three bodies, of which two could be recovered till 4 pm. Efforts are currently underway to recover the third body in the completely burned wreckage. The teams have, however, been unable to locate two more bodies so far.

Sources said two pilots, identified as Major Vikas Bhambu, QFI, and Major Mustafa along with three technicians, were onboard the HAL Rudra that took off from Likabali town and crashed at a location not connected by any road, about 35 km from the border with China.

“A military chopper crashed near Singging village, 25 kms away from the Tuting headquarters in the Upper Siang district today. Site of accident not connected by road, rescue team sent. Further details awaited,” the Defence PRO was quoted as saying by ANI.

Local residents and police joined the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the high-altitude treacherous region to launch a massive search and rescue operation.

“An army aviation ALH WSI helicopter which took off from Lekabali crashed today (21st Oct) at 1043hrs around Migging (South of Tutting) in Arunachal Pradesh. A Joint Search and Rescue Operation of Army and Airforce was Launched immediately which included 1 MI17 , 2 ALh and 3 Columns of the Indian Army. A total of 5 Personnel were on board, during the SAR the team has recovered the mortal remains of four indls out of the five till now. The cause of the crash at this stage is not known. Details are being ascertained,” the Army said in an official statement.

Upper Siang SP Jummar Basar said the crash site is a mountainous region, and it would take time for the search and rescue teams to reach the spot.

Responding to the incident, Union minister Kiren Rijiju said in a tweet, “Received very disturbing news about the Indian Army’s Advanced Light Helicopter crash in Upper Siang District in Arunachal Pradesh. My deepest prayers.”

This is the second incident of an Army helicopter accident in the state this month. On October 5, an Indian Army pilot lost his life when a Cheetah helicopter crashed near Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh.

Another Cheetah chopper crashed in March near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The pilot died in this incident, too.

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