No trace of chopper missing for three days

August 6th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Raipur, Aug 6 (IANS) A Chhattisgarh-bound private helicopter that went missing soon after taking off from Hyderabad Sunday afternoon remained a mystery till late Wednesday though three choppers flew over a Maoist zone trying to locate it. The Ran Air chopper was scheduled to land at Jagdalpur in Bastar district headquarters 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.

Aviation 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 banned Leftist insurgents’ outfit, the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

“Our rescue team has been making efforts since Monday to trace the chopper and three choppers mapped a vast area of Andhra pradesh and Chhattisgarh today but we found no clue whatsoever,” one of the pilots of the rescue team told IANS minutes after he landed at Jagdalpur in the evening after daylong search operation.

The officials said the chopper was booked by the Chhattisgarh government to take 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.

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