No trace yet of Arunachal CM, search enters fifth dayMay 4th, 2011 - 12:26 pm ICT by ANI
Itanagar, May 4 (ANI): Six Indian Air Force helicopters began an aerial survey along inhospitable altitudes of Sela Pass on Wednesday to trace the missing chopper carrying Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others on board.
Six helicopters - two each of the Mi-17, Cheetah, and Cheetak - took off from bases in Tawang and Tezpur in Assam at 5.05 a.m. for the rescue and search mission, IAF spokesperson Ranjeeb Sahoo said.
Out of the seven locations identified by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Sukhoi aircrafts, four areas have been searched. The search in three other locations is being taken up today.
On Tuesday, 31 Army columns, three ITBP columns and six SSB columns searched the Nagar Jiji area along the India-Bhutan border after ISRO images revealed metallic debris there.
Meanwhile, after a meeting of the crisis management committee (CMC), Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayansamy said that despite heavy rain, snowfall and a hostile terrain, thousands of central forces besides local police and people are engaged in massive search operations to locate the single-engine four-seater Pawan Hans chopper.
When asked how fruitful would be the imageries received from ISRO and the Sukhoi aircraft, he said those were much clear than the ones received from a Canda satellite.
Quoting Major General Ojha, who is monitoring and supervising the rescue operation at Dirang, Narayansamy said a 30-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) dispatched by the Union Home Ministry has also joined the 3000 odd force engaged in the ground operation with the full support of the Bhutan Government.
“Two IAF choppers took off from Tawang but had to abandon the search operation because of inclement weather this morning,” said Narayansamy, adding that the defence minister and home minister have given clear-cut instructions for extending all possible support in the search mission.
The missing Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter that took off from Tawang at 9.50 a.m. on Saturday lost communication with the ground after it flew past the Sela Pass along the Chinese border about 20 to 25 minutes later. The helicopter was scheduled to land in Itanagar at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday.
On Saturday, several media reports quoted Arunachal Pradesh Governor General (retired) J J Singh and Chief Secretary Bam as saying that the helicopter had landed safely somewhere in eastern Bhutan adjoining Tawang district and that the same helicopter was flying back to Guwahati with the chief minister on board.
Bhutan, however, later denied that any Indian helicopter had landed in its territory, but said a search operation was launched following a request from New Delhi.
Apart from Khandu, the people on board included crew members Captain J S Babbar and Captain K S Malick, Khandu’s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang legislator Tsewang Dhondup. (ANI)
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- Eyewitnesses in Bhutan say they saw chopper trying to land - May 01, 2011
- Search for missing Arunachal CM now extends to Bhutan, other areas - May 03, 2011
- ISRO deploys satellites to search for missing Arunachal Pradesh CM - May 01, 2011
- Wreckage of helicopter carrying Arunachal CM found - May 04, 2011
- Search continues for missing Arunachal CM along Indo-Bhutan border - May 02, 2011
- Chopper carrying Arunachal chief minister still missing (Night Lead) - May 01, 2011
- Arunachal Pradesh CM Khandu still missing - May 01, 2011
- Massive search operation to locate Arunachal Pradesh CM - Apr 30, 2011
- ISRO images throw up clues to missing chopper (Third Lead) - May 02, 2011
- Ground search for Arunachal CM Khandu continues - May 03, 2011
- Three bodies seen at crash site in Lobothang: Chidamabaram - May 04, 2011
- Arunachal has witnessed several air crashes - May 01, 2011
- Search for Arunachal chief minister narrows down (Lead) - May 02, 2011
Tags: bhutan government, cm search, disaster response, hostile terrain, inclement weather, indian air force, indian space research, indian space research organisation, isro, itbp, massive search, metallic debris, national disaster, ojha, pawan hans, search mission, sukhoi aircraft, tawang, tezpur, union home ministry