Five out of seven Guyana Defence Force (GDF) soldiers aboard the Bell 402 Army helicopter, which crashed, have been confirmed dead. The deceased include prominent military figures: Lieutenant Colonels Michael Charles and Michael Shahoud, Retired Brigadier Gary Beaton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Welcome, and Sergeant Jason Khan.
Corporal Dwayne Jackson and Lieutenant Andio Crawford are the two survivors of the crash.
The ill-fated helicopter lost signal approximately 30 miles from the Venezuela border on Wednesday, prompting a search operation that was hampered by adverse weather conditions, forcing a temporary halt for the night.
Brigadier Omar Khan, the GDF Chief of Staff, disclosed that the emergency signal transmitted by the aircraft indicated a crash landing or might have been deliberately triggered by the onboard crew.
To aid in the search efforts, the Army mobilized its Skyvan and deployed a specialized search and rescue team from its special forces.
Addressing concerns of potential involvement by Venezuela, Brigadier Omar Khan assured reporters that no credible evidence or intelligence is suggesting Venezuelan interference in the aircraft’s disappearance.
The next phase of the operation will focus on extracting personnel from the area, followed by the initiation of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident.
The GDF is determined to uncover the cause of the crash and bring closure to this devastating event.