Sukhois search for AP CM’s missing chopper

Last Updated: Sunday, May 1, 2011 - 18:35

Shillong: Two IAF Sukhois from Bareilly
carried out an aerial search, while a Mi17 chopper which went
looking for the missing helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh
Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others made two sorties
before bad weather forced it to return on Monday.

"Two Sukhoi jets carried out a mission. We are
awaiting their report. The weather was bad till noon. It
cleared a bit after 1:00 pm," spokesman at the Army`s 4 Corps
in Tezpur Col NN Joshi said.

"It gets dark by 4:00 pm. So proper search operations
will be between from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm," he said.

He said, "25-30 army patrol parties were engaged in
the search operations. Other security agencies are also on the
hunt. Can`t say about what the Bhutan army is doing."

Earlier, Defence Spokesman Wing Commander Ranjeev
Sahoo said in Shillong that an IAF Mi17 chopper searched
for the missing helicopter, but bad weather forced it to

"The chopper made two sorties for over two hours since
6:00 am, but had to return due to inclement weather. The
aerial search can resume, only when the weather clears," he

The helicopter from Tawang searched the Bhutan areas
besides the Tawang-Itanagar route, he said.

Two Cheetah helicopters were on stand-by at Tezpur and
another Mi17 at Guwahati, which could not take off because of
the weather, he added.

Defence sources said 30 columns of the Indian Army
comprising 2,400 personnel from Tawang and Tenga were
searching on the ground for the missing helicopter on the
Indo-Bhutan border.

Six ITBP teams with 25 personnel each also joined the
ground search operations.

Meanwhile, the Regional Meteorological Centre forecast
rain or thunder showers and thunder squalls with wind speed
exceeding 50 kmph.

Thunder squalls with wind speed exceeding 50 kmph may
occur at one or two places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and
Meghalaya during the next 24 hours.

The four-seater single-engine Pawan Hans helicopter
with the chief minister and the others went missing yesterday
20 minutes after takeoff from Tawang at 9:56 am.

Besides Khandu, the others on board were pilots
Captain JS Babbar and Captain TS Mamik, Khandu`s security
officer Yeshi Choddak and a Yeshi Lhamu, sister of Tawang
MLA Tsewang Dhondup.


First Published: Sunday, May 1, 2011 - 18:35

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