An army helicopter has reportedly crashed at Sukna Military Camp in West Bengal around 11.45 am Wednesday morning, killing three officers and leaving one junior commissioned officer critically injured.
Eastern Command spokesperson, Wing Commander SS Birdi, said the Cheetah helicopter crashed at around 10.30 AM.
While three officers died on the spot, a JCO was evacuated and admitted to a hospital in a critical condition. An enquiry has been ordered into the crash.
The five-seater Cheetah is said to be a high performance helicopter designed for operation over a wide range of weight, centre of gravity and altitude conditions, according to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
“Three officers died in the crash. The condition of the JCO is critical. An inquiry has been ordered. It was a routine mission operating from Sukna and the crash happened when the chopper was about to land. Crash site is inside Sukna military base, near the helipad,” he said.
Colonel Deb Kumar Sen, who was at the sight of the accident, said it happened at 11.30am and a pilot and a passenger were confirmed dead. Another pilot who was in a critical condition died later.
Frequent fighter plane crashes have been reported in the Eastern Air Command. This is perhaps the first chopper crash in recent times.
On July 24, 2010 a MIG-27 fighter aircraft crashed in Jalpaiguri district killing four persons. On February 19, 2010, a MIG-21 crashed near Bagdogra air force base. On February 16, 2010, a MIG-27 crashed immediately after it took off from Hasimara Air base in Jalpaiguri district. All these incidents took place in north Bengal.