Indian Army has praised the efforts of villagers of Machna in Kishtwar district and extended gratitude for providing invaluable assistance to the aircrew of an Army helicopter which made a “hard landing” in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district on Thursday. “#IndianArmy extends heartfelt gratitude to the villagers of Machna, #Kishtwar for providing timely invaluable assistance in aiding the aircrew, who made precautionary landing on banks of River Marua,” read the Tweet from Northern Command. “#IndianArmy cherishes the strong bond with the people of #JammuKashmir,” added the tweet further.

In the crash an aviation technician who was among the three members on board the Army helicopter succumbed to his injuries later. On the other hand, following the crash, the Indian Army has grounded its fleet of ALH Dhruv choppers. This is the second time in the last two months that the chopper fleet has been grounded for checks.

The first crash took place in Mumbai in March when a Navy chopper had ditched after performing VVIP duties. Another accident happened in Kochi in April when a Coast Guard helicopter during trials made a crash landing. “In view of the crash in which one Army jawan lost his life on May 4, operations of the ALH Dhruv choppers have been halted as a precautionary measure by the force,” Defence officials told ANI.

The grounding of choppers impacted the operations as military movements had to rely on the Cheetah/ Chetak fleet even as high-intensity operations are going on in Rajouri and Baramulla against terrorist groups. The ALH Dhruv is the mainstay of the Indian Army which flies them extensively in high altitude and other operational areas.