Worst was being feared and worst has come true. Five days after the helicopter in which Arunachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Dorjee Khandu, went missing the debris of the chopper has been located at Lobothang, 4900 metres above sea level.
“We have some information that is not encouraging…it is not good news,” said Home Minister P Chidambaram in the morning.
Pawan Hans helicopter in which the CM was travelling went missing on Saturday on the way from Tawang to Itanagar,the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
The helicopter lost contact twenty minutes after it took off as it approached Sela Pass 13,000 feet above sea level. Bad weather seems to be the reason for the crash. Even otherwise the area is very challenging for pilots.
Massive search operation has been going on for the last few days but bad weather was hampering the progress. The help of the Indian Space Research Organization was also sought in locating the chopper.
Massive ground search operations were conducted over the last few days, with bad weather making it tough for Air Force searches to operate. Satellite images from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were also studied by experts involved in the search and rescue operations.
There were six people in the ill fated chopper including Dorjee Khandu. Other persons on board were: Captain J S Babbar, Captain T S Mamik, the Chief Minister’s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lhamu, the sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.
Pawan Hans has very bad track record in the North East. The government has banned its operation in the whole of region.
This is the second time in India that a sitting Chief Minister has lost his life in a chopper crash. About an year ago Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y S Rajsekhra Reddy lost his life when his chopper met with an accident.
Before that on March 3, 2002, Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi,the Speaker of the Lower House of the parliament, died when his chopper,Bell 206,crashed in Kaikalur, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh.