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Search for Missing GDF Helicopter with Seven Crew to Resume in Guyana’s Mountains

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force GDF Colonel Omar Khan told the media Wednesday evening that the search for the missing Bell 402 Army helicopter with seven of its ranks on board will resume on Thursday morning after Wednesday’s search was affected by bad weather.
Several photographs seen by the media showed thick, cloud covered mountains around the area contact was last made. The GDF’s Skyvan and another helicopter along with a search and rescue team from the special forces were deployed to the area.
The crew include pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles; Colonel Michael Shahoud; Retired Brigadier Gary Beaton; Lieutenant Colonel Sean Welcome; Staff Sergeant Jason Khan; Lieutenant Colonel Andio Michaeal Crawford and Corporal Dwayne Jackson.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles, with more than forty years of experience was in command of the Helicopter over the dense and mountainous jungle in Guyana’s Western Borders.
The Chief of Staff told the media that Captain Charles was flying a team under the command of Colonel Michael Shahoud, Commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion, enroute on a mission to visit troops on the western border in light of the ongoing border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.
According to reports the craft landed at Olive Creek to refuel and shortly after takeoff contact was lost. When asked about the possibility of a possible Venezuelan interference, the Colonel answered in the negative but indicated that the focus was on bringing the crew members home safely.
According to Colonel Khan the Army will remain in contact with relatives of the crew.
Earlier reports indicated that bad weather and communication forced seasoned Captain Michael Charles to land the chopper. However, the Guyana Defence Force, said that in collaboration with private sector aircraft operators, a Search and Rescue operation to locate the Bell 412 Helicopter (8R-AYA) was underway.
The helicopter departed Base Camp Ayanganna at 9 hours 23, Wednesday en route to Arau, carrying three (3) crew members and four (4) passengers.
The aircraft transmitted an Emergency Locator Transmitter signal at 11:20 hours, from coordinates approximately 30 miles east of Arau on our western borders.
Nightly News will bring you information as it becomes available.

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