Itanagar, April 30 (IANS): A helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others made a precautionary landing in Bhutan on Saturday after it lost radio contact for close to four hours due to bad weather, an official said. All on board are safe.
"The latest information is that the helicopter carrying the Chief Minister probably landed somewhere in eastern Bhutan close to Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh probably due to bad weather. But the good news is that all the five on board are safe," Kiren Rijiju, Adviser to the chief Minister, told IANS.
The Eurocopter AS350 B3 helicopter, owned by Pawan Hans Helicopter Private Ltd, took off from Tawang helipad, perched at an altitude of 11,000 feet, for State Capital Itanagar at 9.50 am. The helicopter was scheduled to land at 11.30 am.
"The helicopter lost radio contact 20 to 25 minutes after take-off when it was flying over the Sela Pass. Since then there was no word until we heard the chopper has landed somewhere along the India-Bhutan border," Arunachal Pradesh MP Takam Sanjay told IANS.
An official at the Chief Minister's office said a phone call was received about the landing of the helicopter and also said all the passengers were safe.
"We don't really know under what circumstances and where exactly the helicopter landed. Could be possible it landed on some small Bhutanese airstrip. But our information is that the helicopter is flying back to Guwahati," Rijiju said.
For close to four hours, there was chaos in the State with the helicopter remaining untraced. Besides two pilots and the Chief Minister, a personal security officer and a woman relative of Dorjee Khandu were on board.
"Arrangements have been made at the Guwahati airport for receiving the Chief Minister. We don't have any details how and what happened to the helicopter," N Deb, an Arunachal Pradesh government official in Guwahati, said.