Guyana’s government confirmed that five military officers aboard a helicopter crashed near the Venezuelan border have lost their lives and two others survived. The military helicopter vanished during bad weather while transporting officers carrying out a routine inspection of troops in the forested area. The wreckage was discovered the next day.
President Irfaan Ali expressed his sorrow over the loss of their finest men in uniform and identified those who died as a retired brigadier general, a colonel and two lieutenant colonels. The Prime Minister stated that authorities are working to determine the cause of the crash and said there was no indication to suggest hostile fire.
The Army Chief, Brig. Gen. Omar Khan stated that Guyana’s Defense Force lost contact with the brand new Bell 412 EPI aircraft after it took off from Olive Creek settlement in western Guyana following a refueling stop. The crash in the mountainous and heavily forested area is the worst in Guyana’s military history and happened during an escalating diplomatic row with Venezuela over a region known as Essequibo. This region is rich with minerals and is located near massive oil deposits, and abuts the border with Venezuela, which claims Essequibo as its own.