Arunachal CM untraceable: Another 5 areas,one in Bhutan combed

Search operations have been mounted at five high altitude places in Arunchal Pradesh`s West Kameng district and one area inside Bhutan.

Itanagar: Search operations have been
mounted at five high altitude places in Arunchal Pradesh`s
West Kameng district and one area inside Bhutan on Tuesday to find
the helicopter of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee
Khandu and four others missing since Saturday.

The aerial search was called off for the day because
of bad weather.

The five new areas including Putujiji in Bhutan, were
being searched after those at Bangajanga and Nagarjiji in the
same district drew a blank, Union Minister of State V
Narayansamy told reporters here after a high-level review
meeting of the Crisis Management Committee.

Earlier, infra-red images from IAF Su30s detected an
`aircraft-like` object at Nagajiji near Sela Pass.

Asked how helpful were the images received from ISRO
and the aerial mapping by Sukhoi fighters from Bareilly,
Narayansamy said they were much more clearer than the ones
received from a Canadian satellite.

Quoting Major General Ojha, monitoring and supervising
the rescue operation at Dirang, he said a 30-member National
Disaster Responce Force team despatched by the home ministry
has joined the 3000 personnel engaged in the ground operation
with full support of the Bhutan government.

The ground search was being conducted by 3,000
personnel from Indian Army, ITBP and SSB with the assistance
of the state police.

Narayansamy said, the rescuers are braving heavy rain,
snowfall and hostile terrain to locate the single-engine
4-seater Pawan Hans helicopter that was last sighted at Sela
Pass on Saturday.

Noting that Defence Minister A K Antony and Home
Minister P Chidambaram have given clear instructions for all
possible support in the search, he said, "Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi have been
constantly in touch as also union ministers Mukul Wasnik and B
K Handique, AICC general secretary Dhaniram Shandil for
updated information."

Asked if the party was considering appointment of a
caretaker chief minister, Narayansamy said "the leadership is
fully aware of the issue and act accordingly."

Asked why there was no signal from the emergency
locator transmitter (ELT) in the chopper in case of emergency
or crash landing, the minister said the help of its
manufacturer, Eurocopter will be sought.

Questioned why China`s help was not sought to locate
the chopper, he said the crisis management committee has ruled
out the possibility of its flying to that country as the hills
there were much higher for it to cross.

"But if required that possibility could be explored,"
he said.


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