Search teams spot Guyana army helicopter that went missing
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) helicopter that went down on Wednesday was spotted Thursday morning and a rescue team was being inserted into the mountainous and forested area, the defence force said in a statement.
“The crash site where a Guyana Defence Force Bell 412 helicopter went down yesterday, has been positively identified and the aircraft spotted. Search and rescue teams have also reported positive signs of life on the scene. Troops are being rappelled to the exact site location,” the GDF said.
A top military officer who confirmed that the area where the helicopter went down has been found reportedly told a media outlet in the country that he “remains optimistic” about the seven people who were aboard.
The GDF is expected to issue a release shortly.
Piloted by veteran aviator of 40 years, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles, the Bell 412 helicopter went down about 30 miles east of Arau near the Guyana border with Venezuela.
In addition to the pilot, the other occupants were Commanding Officer of the 1st Infantry Battalion, Colonel Michael Shahoud, Commanding Retired Brigadier Gary Beaton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Welcome, Staff Sergeant Jason Khan, Lieutenant Colonel Andio Michael Crawford and Corporal Dwayne Jackson
GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan on Wednesday evening said the helicopter, bearing registration marking 8R-AYA, was on a command mission under the command of Colonel Shahoud to “visit our troops on the western border.”
He said the aircraft landed at Bullet Creek and refueled and shortly after take-off, communication contact was lost, and an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal was triggered.
“On receipt of that ELT signal, it activated our analysis. We attempted to make contact with aircraft and no communication was obtained,” he said.