News headlines


Jabalpur, July 18: The wreckage of a Chhattisgarh Government helicopter, which went missing after it took off from Bhopal for Raipur on July 14 with four people on board, has been reportedly found from a far-flung area in naxal-affected Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Balaghat range) G Janardan told sources here over telephone that the wreckage of the chopper had been located at a dense forest area in Balaghat. The bodies of the four members were also found.

Janardan said the wreckage was found at around 1025 hours this morning in dense bamboo forest area on Budhi Dadar hill near Tanda river on the border of Balaghat and Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district. The decomposed bodies of captain A S Siddu, Mr Vikram Savekar and engineers Mr Manish Dabolia and Mr Amitabh Soni were found.

A team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Parasvada area, Balaghat) Shivkumar Verma and Superintendent of Police (Rajnandgaon) Amit Singh has reached the spot.

The DIG said it appeared that the chopper crashed into the hill when the pilot tried to descend suddenly in the forest area.

The chopper took off from Bhopal at around 1150 hours on July 14 and lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) within half an hour. The six-seater helicopter, manufactured by the internationally renowned company Eurocopter, was sent to Bhopal for weighing two days ago and was on its way back to Raipur after a technical check up that is required in every five years as per the aviation norms.

Initially, the aviation officials had thought that the chopper might have landed somewhere due to bad weather. The chopper is fitted with state-of-the-art emergency locater beacon, which gets activated and starts emitting signals in the event of a crash landing.

Once the equipment gets activated, it not only sends a signal to a centre based in Hyderabad, but also remains active for 72 hours through which the chopper could be located from anywhere within a radius of 100 km. As no such signal has been received so far from this equipment, it appeared that the helicopter had landed somewhere safely.

This twin-engine chopper, considered very safe for flying, was purchased after formation of Chhattisgarh in November 2000. It is being used by VIPs, including Governor and chief ministers.

Besides, it is in service for air-lifting security personnel and evacuating the injured to hospitals from the violence-prone naxalite areas of Chhattisgarh. 


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