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Indian Army chopper crashes at Siachen

The Dhruv helicopter.

NEW DELHI (PTI): An Army chopper crashed on Monday in the icy heights of Siachen glacier but both the pilots survived the accident with minor injuries and were evacuated to Chandigarh for treatment.

The indigenously-built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) 'Dhruv', flown by a Lieutenant Colonel and a Major of the Army Aviation Squadron based in Leh, crashed in the northern glacier at an altitude of around 20,000 ft around 8 AM, Army sources said.

The two pilots crashed apparently due to 'white out' conditions but a Court of Inquiry has been ordered by the Army to ascertain the exact reasons behind the crash, sources said.

Army sources said one of the two pilots had fallen into a crevasse in the glacier and was later taken out to safety. The other pilot suffered minor cuts, the sources said.

The Dhruv ALH Mark-III of the Army Aviation Squadron had taken off from Leh this morning for Siachen as part of air maintenance operations, they said.

The chopper was on its way to drop food supplies and other rations for Army troops deployed near the Sonam post when it crashed at an altitude of 20,000 ft in the Northern Glacier, sources said.

The Army has started deploying the ALH Dhruv choppers for its Siachen operations recently and the chopper is an advanced version of the ALH Dhruvs operating in the country.

A couple of years ago, an ALH Dhruv had crashed in Sikkim killing all four personnel onboard including two officers near the Sino-India border.

The Army plans to induct ALH Dhruvs in significant numbers to meet its requirements in high altitude areas as it comes with a superior load-carrying capability and ability to fly at higher locations than the light Cheetah/Chetak choppers flown by it at present.


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