All Army personnel in the helicopter that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Siang district on Friday are dead, sources confirmed after the fifth body was reportedly located today.
The Air Traffic Control (ATC) had received a ‘may day’ call right before the crash, suggesting a technical or mechanical failure, the Army said, adding that the weather was clear, and the pilots were experienced. However, the terrain is “extremely challenging” in terms of hills with steep gradients and thick jungle, the army said in a statement.
‘May Day’ call refers to a distress signal conveyed to an aircraft crew to the ATC or ground staff.
“The pilots had more than 600 combined flying hours on ALH-WSI and over 1800 service flying hours between them. The aircraft was inducted into service in June 2015,” it said.
A court of enquiry has been set up to probe the crash.
An Indian Army Aviation Advance Light Helicopter (Weapon Systems Integrated) – ALH WSI based at Likabai in Assam had crashed near Migging village on Friday morning. Four bodies were recovered yesterday, and the Army has said it is trying to recover the fifth.
An Indian Army Aviation Advance Light Helicopter (Weapon Systems Integrated) – ALH WSI based at Likabali (Assam) crashed at general area Migging (South of Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh) at 1043 hours on 21 October 2022.
The site of the crash is not connected by any road, but aerial rescue teams were sent to the location.
Visuals showed part of the wreckage in flames.
The helicopter, carrying army personnel, was on a regular sortie after taking off from Likabali on Friday morning. The crash took place at 10.43 am.
As there are no motorable roads leading to the village, except a hanging bridge, three joint teams of both army and the air force were engaged in the rescue op with one Mi-17 and two Dhruv helicopters. Local villagers were also said to be involved in the rescue work.
The ALH (WSI), also known as Rudra Mark IV, is a potent attack helicopter, designed and developed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to fill very niche roles in the Indian Army and the IAF.
The Indian Army’s aviation wing has been deploying the Weapon System Integrated (WSI) variant of the Advanced Light Helicopter Rudra in the region, adding more teeth to its tactical missions in view of the lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh.