Chencho Dema & Nima Wangdi 

The three individuals injured in the helicopter crash in Lunana, Gasa on March 3, are recovering at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, according to health officials.

The helicopter was carrying a family of four including two daughters. The mother and her 18-month daughter died in the incident. She has three daughters and the eldest daughter is studying in a school in Punakha.

Of the three injured, the pilot and the middle daughter suffered fractures in their hands. The father escaped with minor injuries.

JDWNRH’s Medical Superintendent Dr Tshokey said that the father did not require any procedure. “The daughter and the pilot were operated for closed hand fractures on the afternoon of the same day they were evacuated.”

He said that there were no complications and both of them were in stable condition.

The bodies of the deceased were moved to the village on the night of the crash with the help of the residents of Wachey.

Lunana Gup Kaka said it is not known when the bodies would be cremated as the father and daughter are still being treated at the JDWNRH.

The helicopter (A5-BHT) crashed at around 2.30pm near Wachey on its way to Lunana.

Drukair in a press release stated that the cause of the crash is not known yet and that the case is under investigation.

With the assistance of the Royal Bhutan Army, four helicopters of the Indian Army from Siliguri arrived on the morning of March 4. The team with two members of the Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) team evacuated the injured individuals at 10.45am on March 4 and were admitted to JDWNRH.

A Drukair official said that evacuation on the same day was not possible due to bad weather.

Drukair paid for meeting immediate requirements to the family of the deceased. Drukair will also bear the expenses for the funeral rites which will be held in Wachey.

Meanwhile, Drukair’s second helicopter, A5-BHS has been grounded for its 600 hours of scheduled maintenance since February 27 and is under AOG (Aircraft on Ground) until the scheduled maintenance is completed making it unavailable for evacuation.

“We would like to thank the Indian Army for providing helicopters and IMTRAT in Bhutan for their efficient coordination,” the press release stated.