Army chopper carrying four crashes

An army patrol helicopter is found crashed in the woods near the Myanmar border in Mae Hong Son on Thursday. (Royal Thai Army photo)

MAE HONG SON: An army patrol chopper carrying four people crashed and burned in the woods near the Myanmar border on Thursday afternoon.

A search and rescue helicopter found the fixed-wing Cessna-182 in a forest near Nam Huay Sai Kho in Muang district, 30km to the north of the airport.

The people on board could not be reached by mobile phones. There was a signal on one but the call went unanswered.

The helicopter left Mae Hong Son airport at 11.05am to support a patrol task force monitoring for natural resource destruction. 

It was assigned to patrol areas to the north of Mae Hong Son.

While flying 2,500 feet high 18km north of the air traffic control tower, it disappeared from the radar screen and lost contact.

The two pilots on the chopper are Lt Naruepol Pookthong and Lt Varoj Plaengkrathok. The others are Lt Khemmaraj Duangkaew and SM1 Natchanon Khuenkaew.

The army’s 21st Aviation Battalion has nine Cessna-182s, four of which are under repair and maintenance.  

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