Three bodies seen at crash site in Lobothang: Chidamabaram

May 4th, 2011 - 1:51 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, May 4 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said rescue teams have located three bodies in Lobothang near Tawang District, but it could not be confirmed whether the crashed aircraft is the one in which Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was traveling.

Talking to reporters here, Chidambaram said three bodies have been sighted along with the debris of a helicopter” from a great height” by a search party.

Chidambaram further said the authorities would be able to confirm whether Khandu’s body was among the three spotted only when a team of Army men, which is on the way from Kyela, reaches the location.

“We are keeping fingers crossed…let us await for the official word,” he added.

According to sources, the search team has reportedly found the wreckage of the chopper near a waterfall in Lobothang. Television channels are reporting that the bodies of the occupants of the chopper have also been found.

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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