Search still on for missing GDF helicopter; Army sees no Venezuelan involvement


A search and rescue operation to find a Bell 412 Army helicopter that reportedly lost signal 30 miles from the border with Venezuela has been called off for the night because of bad weather and will resume in the morning, Army Chief Brigadier Omar Khan said Wednesday evening.

“I am confident that what we would have gained today on the terrain and other data, it will be a better day tomorrow,” Brigadier Khan stated.

Brigadier Khan said the emergency signal from the aircraft suggests a crash landing or could have been triggered by the crew on board.

He told a news conference at the GDF army base in Georgetown that there is “no information suggesting any flight by Venezuelan aircraft in that area.”

The missing Bell Helicopter

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles, with over 40 years of experience, was flying the aircraft over mountains and dense jungle.

He was flying a team under the command of Colonel Michael Shahoud, Commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion, on a mission to visit troops on the western border.

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan briefs the media on the search for the missing GDF Bell Helicopter (Photo: News Room/December 06, 2023)

Also part of the mission were Retired Brigadier Gary Beaton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Welcome, and Staff Sergeant Jason Khan.

Apart from Charles, the other crew members were Lieutenant Andio Michaeal Crawford and Corporal Dwayne Jackson. The aircraft landed at Olive Creek to refuel and contact was lost shortly after take-off.

The Army deployed its Skyvan and a search and rescue team from its special forces. They were supported by a helicopter.

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