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In a concerning turn of events, a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) helicopter, Callsign 8RAYR Bell 412 Aircraft, has gone missing. Brigadier Omar Khan, addressing the urgent situation in a press conference, conveyed the gravity of the incident which has cast a shadow over the nation.
The helicopter, one of the newly acquired Bell 412 aircraft, was on a command mission under the leadership of Colonel Michael Shahood, Commander of the Fourth Infantry Battalion. Its task was to visit troops stationed along the western border, a routine yet crucial operation affirming Guyana’s commitment to its territorial integrity.
On board were Brigadier retired Gary Beaton, Michael Sherwood, Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Welcome, Staff Sergeant Jason Kahn, pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles, Lieutenant Andio Crawford, and Corporal Dwayne Johnson. After refueling at Olive Creek, the aircraft took off, only to disappear from radar shortly thereafter. An Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal was emitted, a distressing indication typically triggered by a crash or manually in emergencies.
Brigadier Omar Khan highlighted the challenging conditions faced by the search and rescue teams, including heavy overcast and rain, compounded by the region’s mountainous and heavily forested terrain. Despite deploying a Skyvan and a Special Forces search and rescue team, along with support from privately owned helicopters, the efforts were hindered by adverse weather conditions.
The loss of communication with the aircraft, coupled with the harsh weather and demanding terrain, raises significant concerns about the safety of the crew. Brigadier Khan expressed optimism but also acknowledged the complexities of the situation. The GDF’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its personnel remains steadfast, with renewed efforts to commence at daybreak.
The incident, occurring amid heightened tensions between Guyana and Venezuela, has added a layer of anxiety to an already complex geopolitical landscape. While the primary focus remains on locating and rescuing the crew, the incident has inevitably raised questions about regional security and the challenges faced by those serving on the front lines.
When the search resumes tomorrow, the nation will be holding its breath, affirming the safe return of its brave servicemen, a reminder of the risks undertaken by those who defend Guyana’s sovereignty. The GDF’s resolve in this trying time reflects the nation’s spirit – unwavering in the face of adversity.