An Army helicopter on its way to pick up sick BSF personnel crashed near the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Gurez Sector on Friday, killing its co-pilot and critically injuring the pilot, officials said.
It crashed around 11:30 am with officials saying that it drifted away while descending and tumbled into a ‘nallah’ flowing nearby.
The ‘Cheetah’ helicopter was undertaking a rescue sortie to evacuate a sick Border Security Force (BSF) jawan deployed in the forward area in the mountainous region.
“An Army Cheetah helicopter crashed in the Baraub area of Gurez in Bandipora district this afternoon while on a routine mission to evacuate an ailing soldier from a forward post,” Srinagar-based defense spokesman Col Emron Musavi said.
He said the helicopter lost communication with the forward post at Gujran in Baraub before airlifting the trooper.
The slain co-pilot has been identified as Major Sankalp Yadav (29), while the injured pilot, a Lieutenant Colonel-rank officer, was rescued from the crash site and rushed to the Command Hospital in Udhampur.
“The pilots were responding to a medical emergency of the force. I am pained beyond words and I salute the dedication and bravery of the pilots who undertake such difficult evacuation operations,” BSF Inspector General (Kashmir Frontier) Raja Babu Singh said.
Officials said immediately after the ‘Cheetah’ crashed, the Army launched a rescue operation and pressed into service an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and soldiers on foot.
The two pilots were evacuated but Major Yadav was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.
“Major Yadav was commissioned into the army in 2015 and he hailed from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He is survived by his father,” the spokesman said.