Relatives of missing chopper’s crew give up hope

August 17th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 17 (IANS) Relatives of four crew members of a private chopper, missing since Aug 3 en route to Raipur from Hyderabad, have given up hopes of finding them alive, police sources said Sunday. “The family members of the missing crew members Sunday returned from Bastar district where they had gone in batches soon after receiving news that the chopper had gone missing,” sources at the police headquarters here said.

The Bell-430 Ran Air chopper was scheduled to land at Jagdalpur in Bastar district for refuelling en route to Raipur after it took off from Hyderabad Aug 3.

The helicopter, which was hired by the Chhattisgarh government, did not land at Jagdalpur. It had four crew on board - pilot V.P. Singh, co-pilot R.S. Gaur, engineer Santosh and technician Ashwani.

Authorities in Dantewada district in southern Chhattisgarh have announced a reward of Rs.100,000 to anyone providing information about the helicopter but no clues have been found.

Now authorities firmly believe that the chopper crashed in a thick forested stretch of either Dantewada or Bijapur or in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which are known Maoist strongholds.

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