Military helicopter crash in Guyana kills 5 officers, leaves 2 survivors

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Guyana’s government said Thursday that five military officers aboard a helicopter that crashed near the border with Venezuela were killed and two others survived.

The military helicopter disappeared on Wednesday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of the Venezuela border during bad weather while transporting officers conducting a routine inspection of troops in the forested area. Searchers found the remains Thursday.

“My heart aches and drowns with sadness at the tragic (loss) of some of our best men in uniform,” President Irfaan Ali said in a statement posted on social media, calling the loss “immeasurable.”

Ali identified those who died as a retired brigadier general, a colonel and two lieutenant colonels. Among the two survivors is the co-pilot and his condition was not immediately known.

Premier Mark Phillips said authorities are still trying to determine what caused the helicopter to crash, and officials stressed during a news conference Wednesday that there were no indications to suggest any hostile fire.

“We have to find out what happened. Search and rescue has now transitioned to search and recovery,” Phillips told The Associated Press.

Army Chief Brigade. General Omar Khan told reporters on Wednesday evening that the Guyana Defense Forces lost contact with the new Bell 412 EPI aircraft after it took off from the Olive Creek settlement in western Guyana following a refueling stop. .

The accident in the mountainous and densely forested area is the worst in Guyana’s military history.

It occurred during a growing diplomatic dispute with Venezuela over a vast region known as Essequibo, rich in minerals and located near huge oil deposits. The region borders the border with Venezuela, which claims Essequibo as its own.

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