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Chopper crash victims� bodies retrieved

By Correspondent

ITANAGAR, Aug 12 - Finally, came the end! but on a painful note. �The mutilated bodies of young IAS officer Kamlesh Joshi and two pilots of the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter, which went missing on August 4, were found at the crash site this morning at around 9 am.

�The bodies of occupants of the missing chopper were identified and retrieved by the troops of Assam Rifles, paratroopers and local police,� confirmed Arunachal IGP Nabin Payeng.

The IGP informed that the rescue teams carrying the bodies arrived at Khonsa, around 8.30 pm tonight. Changlang DC Chanchal Yadav, who has been monitoring the search and rescue operation for the last eight days, informed that the bodies will be then transported to Assam Medical College & Hospital, Dibrugarh for conducting post-mortem tomorrow. Defence sources said that specially mountain-trained troops of Army and Special Forces supported by Assam Rifles and CRPF using mountaineering equipments reached the deep gorge where the ill-fated Pawans Hans Helicopter crashed. All efforts are being made to retrieve the bodies of the pilots and the lone passenger and the operation will take a few more hours. Efforts to retrieve the bodies yesterday had to be called off due to bad weather.

The wreckage of the missing chopper had been sighted in the hillside with thick canopy between Pongkong and Longliang in Tirap district by the helicopters of IAF�s Eastern Air Command after six days of intense search, on August 10. The twin-engine Dauphin VT-PHK Pawan Hans chopper carrying Tirap DC Kamlesh Joshi and two pilots, namely Captains MS Brar and Rajeev Hoskote, went missing on August 4 last after taking off from Khonsa at around 10.30 am. The chopper had lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) five minutes after its departure for Mohanbari in Dibrugarh via Longding and Changlang, and disappeared in the rain-forest of Tirap. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered a preliminary inquiry into the incident, while the Pawan Hans authorities also ordered an internal inquiry.

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