Tirap DC with three others were on board, army-police rescue teams heading for suspected crash site
Itagar, Aug 4: The Pawan Hans chopper which went missing on Tuesday morning with the Tirap deputy commissioner and three others on board, is said to have been sighted at Deomali in Tirap district of Aruchal Pradesh. However, inclement weather and dense forests are hampering rescuers from reaching the site.
The chopper with Tirap deputy commissioner Dr Kamlesh Kumar Joshi, two pilots and a crew member was on its way to Longding after take-off from Khonsa at around 10.30 AM. Locals and army personnel have reportedly sighted the Dauphin chopper of Pawan Hans Limited, officials said. "According to army sources, the chopper has been sighted near Deomali area in the district and three columns of security personnel along with State police and Assam police are on a search and rescue operation," Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi informed.
However, dense forest has been hampering the search operation, he said adding, the Indian Air Force could not start search operation because of inclement weather. "The last sigl of the chopper was recorded near Deomali," Negi added.
The chopper which took off for Longding, was supposed to go to Changlang and the three DCs of Tirap, Changlang and Longding were scheduled to board a flight from Mohanbari to New Delhi later in the day to attend a meeting convened by the Union Home Ministry," District Information and Public Relation Officer (DIPRO) D Bosai informed from Khonsa.
The weather was foggy, Bosai added.
The chopper went to Mohanbari from harlagun helipad at 8.30 AM and to Khonsa from Mohanbari at 9.55 AM, Pawan Hans sources informed.
A sound, like a blast, was heard near Kalagaon and Lamlou villages in the district, Bosai said quoting villagers.
Pawang Hans Limited, operating chopper services in the state, has a record of several crashes in the past.
Former Education Minister Dera tung along with IAS officer Shangey Lhaden, Times of India owner's daughter ndita Judge along with two crew members, died in a crash near Sessa in West Kameng district during May, 2001.
On August 6, 2010, a Pawan Hans crew member fell 10,000 feet to his death in msai district, while trying to close a door that had swung open during a flight.
A Pawan Hans Mi-17 flight from Guwahati to Tawang, while trying to land at Tawang helipad crashed in a gorge and caught fire on April 19, 2011. Out of 23 people on board, 17 were killed in the crash, while two more succumbed to burn injuries later.
On April 29, 2011, a Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter carrying the then Aruchal chief minister Dorjee Khandu and four other people went missing. The chopper was traced four days later near Luguthang in Tawang district. All five people were found dead.