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All out efforts to trace CM’s chopper: Arunachal MP

All out efforts to trace CM’s chopper: Arunachal MP
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First Published: Sun, May 01 2011. 01 16 PM IST
Updated: Sun, May 01 2011. 01 16 PM IST
Guwahati: Arunachal Pradesh MP Takam Sanjoy on Sunday said all out efforts have been made to trace the whereabouts of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu who went missing in his chopper after boarding from Tawang.
Sanjoy said the security forces are on the their toes to ascertain his whereabouts but till now there has been no trace, he told PTI.
He said the chopper left Tawang but after that it lost contact as it crossed Sella Pass which is 16000 feet above sea level.
Search operations have been launched in and around Sella and Bhutan border.
Chief minister’s office on Saturday said that Khandu’s helicopter had to make an emergency landing due to technical snag near Tawang but inside Bhutanese territory.
Two other passengers accompanying the chief minister and two crew members of the Pawan Hans Eurocopter B3 craft are also safe, the CM’s office said.
The other passengers are Lamu, a woman relative of the chief minister, his security officer Choddak, Captain Babbar and Captain Manik.
Khandu had taken off from Tawang at 9:56 am on Saturday and was to land at Itanagar at 11:30 am by the chartered Pawan Hans helicopter. Tawang is about 200 kms from here.
The chopper was last in communication with the base when it was overflying Sela Pass, 20 minutes after taking off from Tawang, and all communications were lost after that.
With the losing of communication, there was fear all around that the chopper could have met with some accident.
Army and the Indian Air Force were alerted and helicopters were pressed into service for search and rescue operations in Sela Pass area.
Defence ministry spokesman in Kolkata wing commander Mahesh Upasani said despite inclement weather, two Cheetah helicopters were pressed into service from Tezpur in Assam for search and rescue operations.
The request for help reached the air force at 1230 hours and the two helicopters took off within 40 minutes.
56-year-old Khandu, who had served in the intelligence wing of the Indian Army, was sworn on 9 April, 2007 as the fifth chief minister of the state, replacing Gegong Apang.
On 19 April, a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in the mountains of Tawang, bordering Tibet, killing all 17 people on board. The helicopter crashed not far away from the helipad and the DGCA had found that proper fire-fighting facilities could have saved lives.
In the other incident, an army helicopter crashed near Gangtok killing four occupants on board.
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First Published: Sun, May 01 2011. 01 16 PM IST