Rs.100,000 reward for clues about missing helicopter

August 7th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Raipur, Aug 7 (IANS) A reward of Rs.100,000 will be given to anyone providing information about a Raipur-bound private helicopter that went missing soon after taking off from Hyderabad Sunday, an official said Thursday. The Bell-430 Ran Air chopper was scheduled to land at Jagdalpur, the district headquarter of Bastar, for refuelling Sunday en route to Raipur but it went missing. It had on board four people - a pilot, a co-pilot, an engineer and a technician.

“Three choppers, including that of the Indian Air Force, have mapped a vast forested Maoist-infested zone to locate the missing chopper but have failed to find any clue. A cash reward of Rs.100,000 for anyone providing leads has now been announced,” A.N. Upadhyay, inspector general of Bastar range, told IANS.

He added that the money would be given by the Ran Air company, which has brought its two other choppers to Bastar to step up the search operation.

Officials here believe the chopper might have either crashed or made an emergency landing somewhere in dense forested areas of Andhra Pradesh close to Chhattisgarh and Orissa that are considered the nerve centre of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

The officials said the chopper was booked by the Chhattisgarh government to take its Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam from Raipur to Ranchi Monday where Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh too was scheduled to use the chopper for party functions in Jharkhand.

Relatives of the people who were on board the missing helicopter have reached here to get information about the search operation directly from officials.

Sources at the police headquarters here said the search was going on at a slow pace since there is apprehension that Maoists may use rocket launchers to shoot down the rescue team helicopter if it flies at low altitude in the region.

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