Navy helicopter crashes near Vizag, two personnel missing
A naval helicopter with four crew members onboard was lost on Tuesday when it plunged into waters off the coast of Visakhapatnam.
Two people were reported missing following the crash of the naval helicopter, a vintage Chetak-440. Two crew members were immediately rescued and shifted to Kalyani Hospital while a search was underway for the other missing two members.
Navy officials said that the Chetak-440 helicopter crashed at around 3 pm during a routine training sortie at about 10 nautical miles off the Dolphin nose hillock on the east coast. Navy has pressed into service its helicopters and ships to search the missing personnel, they said.
Two survivors have since been picked up from the area and brought to the Naval hospital, INHS Kalyani. They are undergoing treatment.
The Navy has mounted an extensive search in and around the exercise area with ships, helicopters and divers to locate remaining survivors and the wreckage. Assistance of the Port authorities and local fishing community has been sought. The Navy has ordered a Board of Inquiry to investigate the reasons behind the crash of the light utility chopper.
The Cheetah and Chetak choppers are the vintage of the 60s and the 70s and are the mainstay of the armed forces for ferrying small groups of personnel and light loads.
The Navy has already initiated the process for acquiring 56 new light choppers with twin-engines for replacing the vintage choppers. The Indian Air Force and the Army are also in the process of replacing their fleet of Chetak and Cheetah choppers.