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Arunachal CM Khandu�s body recovered

By CORRESPONDENT

ITANAGAR, May 4 � Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who went missing on Saturday on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar, is no more. He, along with four others, died in the helicopter crash on that fateful day.

Khandu was 56 and is survived by his four wives, four sons and two daughters.

The wreckage of the Pawan Hans chopper, which went missing 20-25 minutes after take-off from Tawang helipad at 9.55 am on Saturday with five passengers on board, including Khandu, was found today about 96 hours after the copter lost radio contact with the ground while it was flying over Sela Pass, perched at an altitude of 13,700 feet in Tawang district.

�The wreckage of the chopper and the bodies of Khandu and four others were sighted around 10 am today by a group of local villagers. The body of the Chief Minister has been identified by a local Anchal Samity Member (ASM), Thupten, at Sajula near Loguthang village, 45 km away from Sela Pass,� DoNER Minister Bijoy Krishna Handique told reporters here this evening.

Lifting the bodies from the place of occurrence � a deep gorge amid rugged mountains which is inaccessible � is quite a difficult job. The bodies are to be retrieved one after another through the stiff mountains to nearby Loguthang area and then air-lifted to either Tawang or Itanagar.

Handique, who has been camping here for the last two days to oversee the search operation of the missing chopper, said that the exercise will be carried out throughout the night and the bodies might be retrieved late tonight or tomorrow early morning, provided the weather did not hamper the process.

�Khandu�s body will be brought to Itanagar to facilitate people, including ministers, MLAs, party leaders and others, to pay tributes to their beloved Chief Minister. His last rites will be performed at his native place, Gyangkhar village, in Tawang as per Buddhist rituals and at the same time, there will be a prayer meeting at Itanagar to pay him last respect,� Handique said, adding however, no schedule has yet been fixed.

Besides Khandu, other four persons who were on board the ill-fated single-engine Pawan Hans chopper, were his security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lhamu, younger sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, and the pilots Captain JS Babbar and Captain TS Manik.

Born on March 3, 1955 at Gyangkhar village in Tawang district, Khandu took over as the fifth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, replacing Gegong Apang, on April 9, 2007. He was again sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the second term on October 25, 2009 after his party, Congress� landslide victory in the Assembly polls.

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Arunachal CM Khandu�s body recovered

ITANAGAR, May 4 � Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who went missing on Saturday on a flight from Tawang to Itanagar, is no more. He, along with four others, died in the helicopter crash on that fateful day.

Khandu was 56 and is survived by his four wives, four sons and two daughters.

The wreckage of the Pawan Hans chopper, which went missing 20-25 minutes after take-off from Tawang helipad at 9.55 am on Saturday with five passengers on board, including Khandu, was found today about 96 hours after the copter lost radio contact with the ground while it was flying over Sela Pass, perched at an altitude of 13,700 feet in Tawang district.

�The wreckage of the chopper and the bodies of Khandu and four others were sighted around 10 am today by a group of local villagers. The body of the Chief Minister has been identified by a local Anchal Samity Member (ASM), Thupten, at Sajula near Loguthang village, 45 km away from Sela Pass,� DoNER Minister Bijoy Krishna Handique told reporters here this evening.

Lifting the bodies from the place of occurrence � a deep gorge amid rugged mountains which is inaccessible � is quite a difficult job. The bodies are to be retrieved one after another through the stiff mountains to nearby Loguthang area and then air-lifted to either Tawang or Itanagar.

Handique, who has been camping here for the last two days to oversee the search operation of the missing chopper, said that the exercise will be carried out throughout the night and the bodies might be retrieved late tonight or tomorrow early morning, provided the weather did not hamper the process.

�Khandu�s body will be brought to Itanagar to facilitate people, including ministers, MLAs, party leaders and others, to pay tributes to their beloved Chief Minister. His last rites will be performed at his native place, Gyangkhar village, in Tawang as per Buddhist rituals and at the same time, there will be a prayer meeting at Itanagar to pay him last respect,� Handique said, adding however, no schedule has yet been fixed.

Besides Khandu, other four persons who were on board the ill-fated single-engine Pawan Hans chopper, were his security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lhamu, younger sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, and the pilots Captain JS Babbar and Captain TS Manik.

Born on March 3, 1955 at Gyangkhar village in Tawang district, Khandu took over as the fifth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, replacing Gegong Apang, on April 9, 2007. He was again sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the second term on October 25, 2009 after his party, Congress� landslide victory in the Assembly polls.