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Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh mourns Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu's death

The mortal remains of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday, were on Thursday flown to state capital Itanagar as a pall of gloom descended on the entire state.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

The mortal remains of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday, were today flown to state capital Itanagar as a pall of gloom descended on the entire state.

An Mi17 chopper of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew the body of the 56-year-old late chief minister from Tawang to Itanagar and reached the capital city at about 1315 hours.

Khandu's family members and several top politicians of the state, including Lok Sabha MP Takam Sanjay, arrived here with the body.

The IAF chopper landed at the helipad in the Raj Bhawan campus of the capital, where Governor JJ Singh paid his last respects to the late chief minister.

The body was taken to the chief minister's official residence in a flower-decked open vehicle as people lined up streets to catch a last glimpse of their beloved leader.

A complete spontaneous shutdown was observed across Itanagar, with all business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed and commercial vehicles staying off the roads.

The body will lie in state in the CM’s official residence till tomorrow, before it is flown back to Tawang for cremation at Khandu's native village there as per Buddhist rituals.

A state funeral will be accorded to the late chief minister.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi will fly to Itanagar tomorrow pay their last respects.

The state government has announced seven days mourning, during which the national flag will be flown half-mast and no government entertainment programme will be held.

All Central Government offices in Arunachal Pradesh will remain closed tomorrow. The national flag flew at half-mast today in the state and in the capitals of all States and Union Territories.

Meanwhile, state PWD minister and Pradesh Congress chief Nabam Tuki was named the caretaker chief minister after a meeting of the state Cabinet here.

Tuki will be administered the oath of office and secrecy by the Governor later in the evening.

Earlier, Khandu’s body was flown to Tawang early this morning by an IAF chopper after it was transferred to Luguthang helipad by ground search parties.

Earlier, a rescue team had transferred the mortal remains of Khandu and the four others who had died with him from the crash site to the nearest helipad at Luguthang, about 3 km away.

The body of Khandu was recovered yesterday near Luguthang, in Thimbu circle of Tawang district, along with those of the four others who were flying with him in the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter that had crashed on Saturday morning.

The chopper, coming from Tawang to Itanagar, with Khandu on board had gone missing over Sela Pass some 20 minuts after take-off at 0950 hours on Saturday.

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Khandu’s body flown to Itanagar for people to pay last respects


The body of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday, was flown to state capital Itanagar this afternoon.


An Mi17 chopper of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew in the mortal remains of the late chief minister from Tawang to Itanagar. The chopper reached the capital city at about 1315 hrs.


Members of Khandu’s family and several top politicians of the state, including Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjay, arrived here with the body.


The IAF chopper landed at the helipad in the Raj Bhawan campus of the capital.


Governor J J Singh paid his last respects to the late chief minister at the helipad.


The body was then taken to the chief minister’s official residence in a flower-decked open vehicle as people lined up the streets to catch a last glimpse of their beloved leader.


The body will lie in state at his official residence till tomorrow, before being flown back to Tawang for cremation at Khandu’s native village there as per Buddhist rituals.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were expected to fly to Itanagar to pay their last respects.


Earlier today, Khandu’s body was flown to Tawang early in the morning by an IAF chopper after it was transferred to Luguthang helipad by the ground search parties.


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Union Cabinet condoles death of Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu

The Union Cabinet met today condoled the "untimely and tragic" death of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Miniser Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on April 30 along with five others while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar.


Following is the text of the resolution adopted by the Cabinet:


"The Cabinet condoles the untimely and tragic death of Shri Dorjee Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, in a helicopter crash.

"Born on March 3rd, 1955, Shri Dorjee Khandu served in the Indian Army Intelligence Corps for more than 7 years.

"A popular leader, Shri Dorjee Khandu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh on April 9, 2007. He had earlier been associated with the Government in various capacities including as a Cabinet Minister in the State Government. He was, from the beginning of his political career, engaged in social welfare activities in rural areas and established cultural and co-operative societies in Arunachal Pradesh in the early eighties. He vigorously pursued development activities particularly for augmenting water supply, electricity, communication facilities, agriculture and livestock development, and setting up schools and hospitals including in far-flung villages of the state.

"Through several new initiatives, he helped establish synergy between the schemes of the State and the Central Government. He took pro-active steps for expeditious implementation of the Prime Minister's Package and construction of trans-Arunachal highways and timely completion of a large number of other projects. As a strong votary of citizen-centric administration and with the motto of 'PEOPLE FIRST', he introduced 'Third Party Monitoring System' for ensuring transparency in developmental works. The fact that several sectors such as hydropower, tourism, mineral development, agriculture, food processing and agro based industries in the State generate income and employment for a large segment of population, is a glowing tribute to his visionary leadership.

"Shri Dorjee Khandu passed away in tragic circumstances. In his death, the country has lost an eminent leader, an able administrator and a compassionate human being, who was committed to all round development. The Cabinet places on record its deep sense of grief and loss and extends its sincere condolences to his family and to the people of Arunachal Pradesh."


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Dorjee Khandu's body flown to Tawang for post-mortem examination


The body of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on April 30 along with four others, was flown to Tawang early this morning by an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper.


Earlier, the body was brought to the Luguthang helipad from the scene of the crash nearby by ground search parties.


The bodies of the other four victims were also being flown to Tawang. The first body to reach Tawang was that of the Chief Minister, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ranjib Sahoo told UNI from Shillong.


He said the bodies would later to be taken to Itanagar or other places as directed by the Arunachal Pradesh government.


Khandu's body is likely to be flown to Itanagar for the people to pay their last respects. The cremation will take place in his native village in Tawang as per Buddhist rituals.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi are likely to visit the state to pay their last respects to the departed leader.


Earlier, a rescue team on ground transferred the mortal remains from the crash site to the nearest helipad at Luguthang, about 3 km from the site.


A successful trial landing by a Cheetah helicopter was carried out last afternoon at Luguthang helipad.


The body of Khandu was recovered yesterday near Luguthang, in Thimbu circle of Tawang district, along with that of four others who were flying with him in the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter that had crashed on Saturday morning.


The chopper, on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar, with Khandu on board, had gone missing over Sela Pass about 20 minutes after take-off at 0950 hours on Saturday. Ground parties found the wreckage of the helicopter and the bodies yesterday morning after a five-day massive search operation.


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Late Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu to be accorded state funeral

A state funeral will be accorded tomorrow to late Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash on April 30 while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar.


An official press release said here today that Central Government offices in Arunachal Pradesh would remain closed tomorrow.


The national flag will fly at half mast today and tomorrow in Arunachal Pradesh and in the capitals of all States and Union Territories.


A black-bordered obituary notification will be published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary on May 6, 2011.


The Union Cabinet met today and adopted a resolution condoling the untimely death of Mr Khandu.


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PM condoles death of Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the death of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a helicopter crash on April 30 and said that, in his passing away, the state and the country had lost an experienced and able leader who spent long years in dedicated public service.


The wreckage of the Pawan Hans helicopter and the bodies of Mr Khandu and four others in the chopper were found only yesterday after a massive search operation in difficult mountainous terrain.


In a message to Mr Khandu's wife Rinchin Drema, Dr Singh said Mr Khandu was a veteran politician who worked tirelessly to promote the interests of the state.


"He spent his early career in grass-root activities among the people of Tawang District. He was elected unopposed to the first Legislative Assembly of the State of Arunachal Pradesh in 1990 and continuously served the same constituency since then. He worked for Arunachal Pradesh's development with dynamism and energy, while holding a number of Cabinet positions in the State Government notably as the Minister of Power," he said.


Dr Singh also noted that Mr Khandu had worked hard for the development of Arunachal Pradesh and served the state with distinction after being appointed the 5th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh in April 2007.


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Arunachal CM’s body found; chopper crash site near Sela Pass

Search teams today found the bodies of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others who were travelling with him in a Pawan Hans helicopter that went missing on Saturday morning while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar, the state capital.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

Search teams today found the bodies of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others who were travelling with him in a Pawan Hans helicopter that went missing on Saturday morning while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar, the state capital.

The wreckage of the helicopter was found, after a massive 96-hour search, near Luguthang in Thimbu circle of Tawang district, official sources said.

Apart from Mr Khandu, 56, and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, the younger sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the ill-fated helicopter.

The spot where the chopper and the bodies were found is near the Jang water fall and close to the spot over Sela Pass from where the helicopter had last contacted the Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Guwahati at about 1020 hrs on Saturday. It had taken off from Tawang at 0950 hours and was due to land in Itanagar around 1130 hours on that day.

The site is northeast of Sela, while satellite and Su-30 images had pointed to areas towards the west and south of Sela as possible crash sites.

While an official declaration is awaited, pending the completion of formal procedures and identification of the body of Khandu and others, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique said here that preliminary identification had been done by a local-level leader.

"The villagers had spotted the wreckage and an Anchalik Samiti member has identified the CM’s body. However, according to formal procedures, a kin or close aide must identify the body and this will take some time," Mr Handique, who has been camping here since Monday, said.

Mr Handique said Khandu’s family members, including one of his brothers who is a local MLA, have left for the nearest motorable point where the bodies are likely to be brought.

Officials in the Tawang Deputy Commissioner’s office said the exact spot was about 7-8 km from Luguthang, in Thimbu circle of the district.

They added that it would be difficult to specify any time-frame when the foot parties that have left for the spot would be back due to the hostile terrain.

"At least, they should be back by evening," they added.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers, who will conduct the ground operation along with Army men and personnel of the crisis management team, have already left for Sela from Dirang.

From the nearest Rama Seppar - near an ITBP transit camp at Thimbu - it is about 18 km southeast on foot which might take over six hours, ITBP sources said.

Luguthang is at an altitude of 13,200 ft and beside a tributary of the Tawang Chu river.

Mr Handique said the body of the Chief Minister will be brought to Itanagar so that people can pay their homage, though the cremation, as per Buddhist rituals, will be done at Tawang, Khandu’s home district.

Rajya Sabha member and former chief minister Mukut Mithi has also confirmed that local villagers spotted the helicopter wreckage and the decomposed bodies and informed security agencies at about 1000 hrs today.

Born on March 3, 1955 at Gyangkhar village to the late Leki Dorjee, Khandu had served in the Intelligence Corps of the Indian Army and later plunged into politics. He was elected unopposed as the vice-president of the West Kameng Zilla Parishad in 1983. He also was engaged in social and cultural activities.

In March 1990, he was elected uncontested to the first Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh from Thingbu-Mukto constituency and was re-elected from there in March, 1995.

He became the Minister of State for Cooperation in March, 1995 and the Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development in September, 1996.

Mr Khandu was re-elected to the Assembly in October, 1999 and served as the Minister for Mines, Relief and Rehabilitation.

In 2004, he was re-elected to the Assembly and became the Minister for Power and Relief and Rehabilitation.

On April 9, 2007 be became the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, succeeding Mr Gegong Apang, at the head of a Congress government.

In 2009, he was re-elected to the Assembly and sworn in again for a second term as the Chief Minister on October 25, 2009.

The search for the missing helicopter was hampered for the past four days because of bad weather, but the operaton picked up pace today as the skies cleared.

The worst was feared when Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi today that a ground team searching for the helicopter had spotted an aircraft crash site as well as some bodies this morning.

"We have some information which is not encouraging. In fact, it is not good news," Mr Chidambaram told mediapersons outside his North Block office.

He said a search party sent by the local circle office had sighted what appeared to be the crash site of an aircraft between Kyela and Lugudhang in Arunachal Pradesh.

"The party also says that they have sighted three bodies," he said.

"This sighting has been made from a height. They have not been able to actually go down to the place where the aircraft has crashed," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said a message had sent to the army post in Kyela and a team had been despatched on foot to the scene.

He said the team would take some time to reach the spot on foot and more details would be available only then.

He said the distance between Kyela and Lugudhang was about ten km and the crash site was about four to five km from Kyela. The place is at a height of 4900 metres.

Official sources said they were waiting for more details before they could say for sure about whether the aircraft spotted at the crash site was the helicopter carrying Mr Khandu. At the same time, they pointed out that the site was on the flight path the helicopter could have taken.

Over the past four days, more than 3500 people were involved in the search in some of the difficult mountainous terrain. Apart from Sukhoi-30 fighters and helicopters of the Indian Air Force, which conducted an aerial search over the area, several columns of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Arunachal Pradesh Police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were engaged in the search operations in the dense forests of Arunachal and adjacent areas.

A statement from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi said grazers from Arunachal Pradesh were also involved in the search effforts.

The Bhutanese government had also deployed search parties on its side of the border.

The Government had also requested the Indian Space Research Organisation to provide satellite images of the area where the helicopter had gone missing.

Union Social Welfare Minister Mukul Wasnik and Mr V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), had been camping in Itanagar for the past three days to coordinate the search efforts.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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Teams searching for Arunachal CM spot aircraft crash site, 3 bodies

Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday a ground team searching for the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others, which went missing four days ago on Saturday, had spotted an aircraft crash site as well as some bodies.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said a ground team searching for the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others, which went missing four days ago on Saturday, had spotted an aircraft crash site as well as some bodies.

"We have some information which is not encouraging. In fact, it is not good news," Mr Chidambaram told mediapersons outside his North Block office.

He said a search party sent by the local circle office had sighted what appeared to be the crash site of an aircraft between Kyela and Lugudhang in Arunachal Pradesh.

"The party also says that they have sighted three bodies," he said.

"This sighting has been made from a height. They have not been able to actually go down to the place where the aircraft has crashed," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said a message had sent to the army post in Kyela and a team had been despatched on foot to the scene.

He said the team would take some time to reach the spot on foot and more details would be available only then.

He said the distance between Kyela and Lugudhang was about ten km and the crash site was about four to five km from Kyela. The place is at a height of 4900 metres.

Official sources said they were waiting for more details before they could say for sure about whether the aircraft spotted at the crash site was the helicopter carrying Mr Khandu. At the same time, they pointed out that the site was on the flight path the helicopter could have taken.

The spotting of the crash site came on a day when teams from the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Army and para-military forces intensified their search for the Bell helicopter after bad weather had hampered the search and rescue efforts for the past four days.

The helicopter had gone missing while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar on Saturday morning. The last contact with it was around 1015 hours, about 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang at 0950 hours.

A UNI report said that six helicopters of the IAF were pressed into service early this morning, while ground search parties continued their operations through the night.

Two Mi17s, two Cheetah and two Chetak helicopters had set out from Tawang and Tezpur at 0505 hours, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ranjib Sahoo told UNI.

Several columns of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Arunachal Pradesh Police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were engaged in the search operations in the dense forests of Arunachal and adjacent areas.

A statement from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi said grazers from Arunachal Pradesh were also involved in the search effforts.

The Bhutanese government had also deployed search parties on its side of the border.

According to the Home Ministry, based on inputs received from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites and the Sukhoi-30 aircraft of the IAF, as well as information provided by some local people, the search operations are now focused on three areas: Nagajiji in Tawang district, the area to the immediate south of Sela Pass, known as Eagle's Nest Reserve Forest, and Phangrong district in Bhutan.

The statement said search teams on foot had reached these areas.

It said that, in addition, IAF helicopters had been making regular sorites to find signs of any aircraft in the areas over which the Chief Minister's helicopter could have possibly flown.

"It may be appreciated that the search efforts have continued without any let up, subject only to interruptions due to bad weather," it said.

According to the statement, about 3500 personnel were deployed in the search operations.

"Government of India wishes to assure everyone, especially the people of Arunachal Pradesh, that all possible efforts are being made to locate the Chief Minister’s helicopter. In this time of difficulty, we appeal to the people to remain patient and hopeful and pray for the welfare of the Chief Minister and the other occupants of the helicopter," it added.

Union Social Welfare Minister Mukul Wasnik and Mr V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), have been camping in Itanagar for the past three days to coordinate the search efforts.

Mr Narayanasamy told reporters that the PMO was constantly monitoring the situation as were the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence and External Affairs.

He said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had spoken to the Bhutanese Prime Minister after Saturday's incident and the neighbouring country had been rendering complete support in the operation.

Apart from Mr Khandu, 56, and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the helicopter.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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Search for missing chopper carrying Arunachal CM intensified

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

Teams from the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Army and para-military forces intensified their search today for the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others, which went missing four days ago on Saturday.

The helicopter went missing while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar on Saturday morning. The last contact with it was around 1015 hours, about 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang at 0950 hours.

The search for the missing Bell helicopter has been hampered for the past four days because of bad weather in the area.

A UNI report said that six aircraft of the IAF were pressed into service early this morning, while ground search parties continued their operations through the night.

Two Mi17s, two Cheetah and two Chetak helicopters had set out from Tawang and Tezpur at 0505 hours, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ranjib Sahoo told UNI.

Several columns of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Arunachal Pradesh Police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were engaged in the search operations in the dense forests of Arunachal and adjacent areas.

A statement from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi said grazers from Arunachal Pradesh were also involved in the search effforts.

The Bhutanese government had also deployed search parties on its side of the border.

According to the Home Ministry, based on inputs received from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites and the Sukhoi-30 aircraft of the IAF, as well as information provided by some local people, the search operations are now focused on three areas: Nagajiji in Tawang district, the area to the immediate south of Sela Pass, known as Eagle's Nest Reserve Forest, and Phangrong district in Bhutan.

The statement said search teams on foot had reached these areas.

It said that, in addition, IAF helicopters had been making regular sorites to find signs of any aircraft in the areas over which the Chief Minister's helicopter could have possibly flown.

"It may be appreciated that the search efforts have continued without any let up, subject only to interruptions due to bad weather," it said.

According to the statement, there were, at present, about 3500 personnel deployed in the search operations.

"Government of India wishes to assure everyone, especially the people of Arunachal Pradesh, that all possible efforts are being made to locate the Chief Minister’s helicopter. In this time of difficulty, we appeal to the people to remain patient and hopeful and pray for the welfare of the Chief Minister and the other occupants of the helicopter," it added.

Union Social Welfare Minister Mukul Wasnik and Mr V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), have been camping here for the past three days to coordinate the search efforts.

Mr Narayanasamy told reporters that the PMO was constantly monitoring the situation as were the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence and External Affairs.

He said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had spoken to the Bhutanese Prime Minister after Saturday's incident and the neighbouring country had been rendering complete support in the operation.

Apart from Mr Khandu and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the helicopter.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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Bad weather hampers search for missing chopper carrying Arunachal CM

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

The aerial search for the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others, which went missing on Saturday, had to be suspended for the day because of poor weather while rescue teams on the ground made slow progress in hostile terrain.

The helicopter went missing while on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar on Saturday morning. The last contact with it was around 1015 hours, about 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang at 0950 hours.

A UNI report said two Indian Air Force (IAF) MI17 helicopters set out from Tawang this morning in search of the missing chopper but had to return within 45 minutes because of bad weather.

The helicopters conducted a search over the Sela Pass area, from where the missing chopper had last contacted Air Traffic Control on Saturday.

Official sources said the aerial search would be resumed today only if the weather cleared before dark.

Meanwhile, ground search parties resumed their operation at the crack of dawn. Several columns of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) carried out a massive search in the dense forests of Arunachal Pradesh.

Across the border, the Bhutanese government has deployed search teams in its territory to look for the missing chopper.

Two search teams left for Banglajan and Nagajiji, both near Sela Pass, by foot yesterday after satellite imagery pointed to some objects there. The authorities were hoping to hear from these parties by this evening.

Apart from Mr Khandu and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the helicopter.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed safely inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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IAF finds "something like aircraft" during search for missing chopper

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) today said its Sukhoi 30s had detected "something like an aircraft" in Bhutan but could not confirm if it was the helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others which went missing on Saturday.

"Our Sukhoi 30s with recee pods have managed to pick up something which has been given for assessment. What they have found is something like an aircraft," Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command Air Marshal K K Nohwar told reporters here.

"Leads picked up by the Air Force and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellite pictures and information from villagers said they had heard or seen something and are being collated with other inputs," he said.

"Based on these inputs, the helicopters are focusing the aerial search operations, but the weather has not permitted us. The helicopters have made attempts to go to certain areas in Bhutan. Whenever the weather starts clearing, our helicopters would be pressed into service," the Air Marshal said.

Early this morning, two MI 17 helicopters had flown from Tawang, but they soon returned to base because of bad weather.

"I am quite positive. We will be able to find the location and technical means are so superior in our country that it would help us to locate the aircraft," the Air Marshal said.

Pointing out that the weather has hampered the aerial search, he said, aircraft are kept on standby in Tezpur, Guwahati and Tawang from where operation will be launched.

Meanwhile, senior Arunachal minister Naban Tuki said three spots in Nagajiji near Sela Pass have been identified where the chopper could be found.

NetIndian News Network adds:

Earlier in the day, defence and para-military forces continued their massive search operations for the third day today to trace the Pawan Hans helicopter that went missing on Saturday while on a flight from Tawang to the state capital, Itanagar.

Defence sources said that the search efforts, which had had been stopped at dusk yesterday, resumed at the crack of dawn this morning.

While helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an aerial search on the route from Tawang to Itanagar, columns of the Army and para-military forces, including the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were engaged in a combing operation on the ground near the Indo-Bhutan border, where the four-seater Bell helicopter was suspected to have headed.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites and two Sukhoi fighter aircraft of the IAF had done aerial mapping of the area yesterday, but the heavy clouds had made it difficult to get clear images, the sources said.

Apart from Mr Khandu and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the helicopter.

Union Ministers Mukul Wasnik and V Narayanasamy reached Itanagar from Delhi yesterday to monitor the situation.

The helicopter had left Tawang around 0950 hours on Saturday and was due to land at Itanagar at 1130 hours. The last contact with it was around 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang and it had crossed the Sela Pass.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed safely inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

The Bhutanese government has also deployed several search teams in the border area to look for the helicopter.

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Massive search continues for missing chopper carrying Arunachal CM

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

Defence and para-military forces continued their massive search operations for the third day today to trace the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others that went missing on Saturday while on a flight from Tawang to the state capital, Itanagar.

Defence sources said that the search efforts, which had had been stopped at dusk yesterday, resumed at the crack of dawn this morning.

While helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were carrying out an aerial search on the route from Tawang to Itanagar, columns of the Army and para-military forces, including the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were engaged in a combing operation on the ground near the Indo-Bhutan border, where the four-seater Bell helicopter was suspected to have headed.

Official sources in Itanagar said there was no news about the whereabouts of the helicopter so far.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites and two Sukhoi fighter aircraft of the IAF had done aerial mapping of the area yesterday, but the heavy clouds had made it difficult to get clear images, the sources said.

Apart from Mr Khandu and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, were travelling by the helicopter.

Union Ministers Mukul Wasnik and V Narayanasamy reached Itanagar from Delhi yesterday to monitor the situation.

The helicopter had left Tawang around 0950 hours on Saturday and was due to land at Itanagar at 1130 hours. The last contact with it was around 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang and it had crossed the Sela Pass.

Mr Khandu was returning from Tawang after receiving Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who was in Tawang to participate in a Speakers' conference there.

The Chief Minister was scheduled to participate in a May Day rally in Itanagar yesterday, which was cancelled.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed safely inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

The Bhutanese government has also deployed several search teams in the border area to look for the helicopter.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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Massive search operations for missing chopper carrying Arunachal CM

Massive search operations continued on Sunday to trace the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others that went missing on Saturday while on a flight from Tawang to the state capital, Itanagar.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

Massive search operations continued today to trace the Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others that went missing yesterday while on a flight from Tawang to the state capital, Itanagar.

Two Sukhoi fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force and four helicopters had been deployed along the Tawang-Itanagar route to look for the four-seater Bell helicopter.

The two Sukhois flew from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and returned to the air base after completing aerial mapping of the area where the helicopter went missing. The images will be analysed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has been helping in the search efforts.

On the ground, men of the Army and para-military forces, including the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have begun search operations along the Indo-Bhutan border, where the helicopter was suspected to have headed.

Apart from Mr Khandu and the two pilots, J S Babbar and K S Mamick, the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, identified as Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.

Union Ministers Mukul Wasnik and V Narayanasamy reached Itanagar from Delhi to monitor the situation.

In the morning, one Mi17 helicopter of the IAF conducted two sorties but had to return due to inclement weather, which hampered the rescue efforts.

The state government held an emergency meeting in Itanagar yesterday evening to review the situation.

The helicopter had left Tawang around 0950 yesterday and was due to land at Itanagr at 1130 hours. The last contact with it was around 20 minutes after it took off from Tawang and it had crossed the Sela Pass.

Mr Khandu was returning from Tawang after receiving Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who flew to Tawang yesterday to participate in a Speakers' conference there.

The Chief Minister was scheduled to participate in a May Day rally in Itanagar today, which was cancelled.

About three hours after the helicopter was reported missing, there were reports that it had landed safely inside Bhutan, but there was no confirmation of this from Pawan Hans or from Bhutanese authorities.

The Bhutanese government has also deployed several search teams in the border area to look for the helicopter.

"The state government has been in constant touch with the Central government and the government of Bhutan as the safe landing of the Chief Minister's chopper in Bhutan is yet to be officially confirmed," a UNI report quoted Arunachal Pradesh government spokesman Jarbam Gamlin as saying.

He urged the people not to panic and to pray for the safe return of the Chief Minister and the others.

(With inputs from United News of India)

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Arunachal CM remains untraced hours after reports of safe landing

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, whose helicopter had reportedly landed safely inside Bhutan after it went missing for more than three hours on Saturday while flying from Tawang to Itanagar, is still untraced.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, whose helicopter had reportedly landed safely inside Bhutan after it went missing for more than three hours today while flying from Tawang to Itanagar, is still untraced.

The Pawan Hans helicopter with Mr Khandu and four others on board that went missing this morning minutes after take-off from Tawang was reported to have landed safely in Bhutan at about 1500 hours.

However, Pawan Hans sources claimed that they had received no information on the whereabouts of their aircraft, including whether it had landed safely.

"We have not been able to contact our pilots and unless we receive information from them, we cannot confirm any report," Pawan Hans officials in Guwahati said.

"The last contact with the helicopter was at about 1015 hours after it crossed Sela Pass. After that, there has been no contact till now," the officials added.

As per information available with them, two Indian Air Force planes were pressed into search operation, while the Army had sent ground teams.

Defence spokesman Wing Commander Ranjeev Sahoo said over telephone from Shillong that the two IAF Cheetah helicopters that were sent for the rescue and search had been pulled back for the night.

'' They had flown from Tezpur and searched the route from Tawang to Itanagar. Because of inclement weather they had to come back after two hours of search. But they could not locate the missing chopper. If needed they would be sent again tomorrow, '' Mr Sahoo said.

Earlier, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Tabam Bam had said the chopper had been traced inside Bhutan and all on board, including the Chief Minister, were safe.

The Arunachal Pradesh government officials could not be contacted for further verification.

The helicopter was on its way to state capital Itanagar, with three passengers, including Mr Khandu, and two pilots on board. It was scheduled to reach Itanagar at 1130 hours.

The two pilots on board were J S Babbar and K S Mammik. The others on board included the Chief Minister's security officer Yashi Chadook and a female passenger, reportedly kin of a local politician.

Mr Khandu was returning from Tawang after receiving Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who flew to Tawang yesterday to participate in a Speakers' conference there.

The Chief Minister is scheduled to participate in a May Day rally in Itanagar tomorrow.

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Chopper with Arunachal CM Dorjee Khandu on board missing

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.

A Pawan Hans helicopter with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu on board has been reported missing while flying from Tawang to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh today.

Pawan Hans sources confirmed that the chopper had taken off at around 0950 hours this morning from Tawang.

"The last contact with the helicopter was at around 1015 hours after it crossed Sela Pass. After that, there has been no contact till now," the sources said.

The chopper was scheduled to reach Itanagar at 1130 hours. Besides the chief minister, two officials and two pilots were on board.

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Govt. appoints Committee of Inquiry to probe helicopter crash at Tawang

The Government today appointed a Committee of Inquiry headed by Air Marshal (Retd) P P Rajkumar to inquire into the circumstances of the crash of a Pawan Hans helicopter at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on April 19, in which 17 people were killed and six were injured.


The helicopter, MI-172 VT-PHF, was on a flight from Guwahati in Assam to Tawang when it crashed.


The aircraft was under the command of Capt Varun Gupta and the crew members included Capt. Capt. A.K. Tiwari, co-pilot P.K. Chaturvedi, Flight Engineer S. V. Kulkarani and A. Dixit, Flight Attendant.


There were 18 passengers on board. The 17 people killed included three members of crew.


An official press release said the other members of the Committee of Inquiry were Air Commodore (Retd) Rai Krishan and Wing Commander (Retd) Rabinder Singh. Mr M.J. Singh, Deputy Director of Air Safety, has been appointed as Secretary to the Committee.


The release said the committee would also take assistance of other experts/ agencies whenever required. The Headquarter of the committee will be in New Delhi. The committee will complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Central Government within three months.


The committee, set up under Rule 74 of Aircraft Rules, 1937, will investigate and determine the cause and contributory factors leading to the accident and make recommendations to avoid recurrence of such accidents in future, the release said.


Meanwhile, Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited has announced an interim compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the deceased and Rs.50, 000 for the injured. Final compensation shall however, be determined as per law.


The Ministry of Civil Aviation has also advised the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to immediately take following actions with a view to ensure safety of helicopter operations in the country:-


(i) To launch a reassurance drive in order to ensure that all helicopters are being operated and maintained in accordance with the approved procedures and with safety aspect in place.


(ii) DGCA shall ensure that examiners of helicopters will conduct special checks of the line pilots under overall supervision of DGCA in a time-bound manner.


(iii) To undertake immediate assessment of helipads particularly in critical areas where helicopter operations are undertaken in a drive mode.


(iv) DGCA to ensure implementation of monitoring/ review of safety regulations to be implemented by State Governments.


(v) To make an external assessment of overall safety standards of helicopter operations in respect of operators involved in operation in critical areas.


Accordingly, DGCA has initiated actions on these aspects, the release said.


The Ministry of Civil Aviation had directed the Director General of Civil Aviation and the Chairman and Managing Director of the public sector Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited to rush to the accident site along with their team to supervise rescue and relief operations.


The team has undertaken a visit of the accident site. DGCA was advised to appoint an Inspector of Accident immediately. Accordingly, Mr Sanit Kumar, RCAS, Kolkata was appointed as Inspector of Accident.


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17 killed in helicopter crash at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh


At least 17 people, including three crew members and two minors, were killed when a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh minutes before landing today.


There were 18 passengers, including two minors, besides five crew members, Defence sources said adding six were rescued with serious burn injuries.


Sources said the Mi17 helicopter was on its way from Guwahati in Assam to Tawang.


It had taken off from Guwahati at 1245 hours and was scheduled to land at about 1400 hours when the chopper hit a fuel tank near the helipad and crashed, catching fire immediately at around 13.57 hours.


The crew members have been identified as Captain Varun Gupta, Captain A K Tiwary, Flight Engineer P K Chaturvedi, Assistant Maintenance Engineer S B Kulkarni and Flight attendant A Dikshit.


Captain Gupta and Chaturvedi were among the six people rescued.


The rescued were admitted at the Tawang district hospital with serious burn injuries.


A technical snag was suspected to be the cause of the accident, though no official word of confirmation was available.


A Pawan Hans team will arrive from New Delhi to investigate the cause of the accident.


Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi expressed condolences over the tragedy and wished the injured speedy recovery.


NetIndian News Network adds from New Delhi:


An official statement from the Ministry of Civil Aviation said the Mi-172 helicopter VT-PHF had crash landed due to likely wind shear and down draft while landing and caught fire on impact on the ground.


It said officers from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had rushed to the site of the accident and an inquiry had been ordered into the crash.


The Director General of Civil Aviation and senior officials would be visiting the scene of the accident tomorrow.


The Government is likely to set up a committee for investigation into the accident.


The helicopter was manufactured in 1996 and its certificate of airworthiness is valid upto August 28 this year, the statement added.


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Several killed in helicopter crash near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh


Several people are feared dead in a helicopter crash in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang town today.


Preliminary reports said the Pawan Hans helicopter was on its way from Guwahati to Tawang.


It had taken off from Guwahati at 1245 hrs and was scheduled to land at about 1400 hrs when the chopper caught fire minutes before landing.


At least 23 people, including five crew members, were on board. Details were awaited.


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President appoints two judges to Bombay High Court

The President has appointed Ms Justice Rekha Prakash Sondur Baldota and Mr Justice Kailashchand Uttamchand Chandiwal, Additional Judges, as Judges of the Bombay High Court.


The appointments, in that order of seniority, would be with effect from the dates they assume charge of their offices, an official press release said.


Mr Soumen Sen has been appointed as a Judge of the Calcutta High Court, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office, it said.


Mr Valmiki J. Mehta has been appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court for a period of two years with effect from today, the release added.


NNN

Doctors remove PM's stitches

Doctors who conducted a coronary bypass surgery on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late last month removed all his stitches today and said that he is convalescing well.

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