From our correspondent
Itagar, July 06: Police on Thursday recovered three bodies from the spot where the ill-fated IAF chopper crashed on Tuesday during flood rescue sorties, while search for other crew members continues, a top police official informed.
Though police initially said there were three crew members on the ALH chopper, it was later confirmed that an IRBn jawan was also in the helicopter, assisting the crew in flood rescue sorties at Sagalee and Dambuk.
“Police recovered the bodies of two crew members and the IRBn while search is on for the other crew members,” DGP Sandeep Goel informed.
The three crew members include Wing Commander M S Dhillon who was the pilot of the helicopter and the commanding officer of the unit, Flight Lieutent P K Singh and Flight Engineer Seargent Gujjar. The IRBn person was identified as da Umbing from Hija village at Ziro in Lower Subansiri district.
The search team comprised of the state police, NDRF, locals besides Army and IAF personnel along with medical team, the DGP informed.
Papum Pare SP Tumme Amo who was leading the team on Wednesday informed that a team of 14 police personnel along with a few local guides halted at the spot for the night, which were on Thursday joined by a big team. The bodies could not be retrieved on Wednesday because of darkness, he added.
An Aruchal Pradesh police team spotted the debris and the bodies of two of the crew members’ on Wednesday.
The helicopter took off on Tuesday from the Pilputu helipad near Sagalee, also in Papum Pare district, around 30 km from Itagar. It lost contact with ground staff within minutes of take-off at 3:48 pm. Aruchal and parts of the Northeast have been witnessing heavy rainfall for the past few weeks. Aruchal is known for its unpredictable weather and over the past few years there have been a series of aircraft crashes.
This was the second aircraft crash in the state in 40 days. In the last week of May, a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, with two pilots on board, crashed along the Assam-Aruchal border.
In 2011, then Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others died after their Pawan Hans chopper crashed at a remote location in the state. A few days before, another helicopter crashed while landing in Tawang, killing 16 people.
Following the crashes, commercial chopper services were stopped in the state till 2013 while Pawan Hans restarted the service in the state and other parts of the region. Pawan Hans Helicopter Services Limited (PHHL) has been operating chopper services across Aruchal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, galand and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past 15 years.