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Copter with Arunachal CM missing

By Correspondent

ITANAGAR, April 30 � The long wait of drama and suspense still continues as the helicopter in which the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was traveling in has remained untraced.

The Pawan Hans helicopter with five people, including Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, onboard that took off at 9.56 am from Tawang helipad went missing around 10.30 this morning. The chopper was scheduled to land at the State capital, Itanagar at 11.30 am.

�The latest information is that there is no confirmation yet about the missing helicopter carrying the Chief Minister and four others,� informed State�s MP Takam Sanjoy.

Earlier on the day, there were conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the chopper that it had made an emergency landing at Toporochi in Bhutan due to inclement weather. Its passengers, including Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, two of his personal aides and two pilots were safe, according to unconfirmed reports.

Sanjoy said search operation for the missing copter will be resumed tomorrow.

Agencies add: The chopper was last in communication with the base when it was overflying Sela Pass, 20 minutes after taking off from Tawang, and all communications were lost after that.

There was confusion in the afternoon with claims made by Governor Gen (retd) J J Singh first and then by the Chief Minister�s Office and Defence spokesperson that the Chief Minister had landed safely in a place called Daporijo in Upper Subansiri district. The CM�s office said the helicopter had landed in a place in Bhutan.

However, later in the evening there were denials from all concerned saying helicopter has not been located and search operation was still on.

�The helicopter is missing and the search operation is still on,� Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said in New Delhi in the evening.

The Arunachal Pradesh government said that it is yet to ascertain the whereabouts of the Pawan Hans chopper which went missing since morning with the Chief Minister and four others on board.

Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Inspector General of Police Robin Hibu said joint search operation for the missing copter will be conducted by Army, Air Force and state police from tomorrow morning by air and through ground.

The five on board included crew members Captain J S Babbar and Captain K S Malick, Khandu�s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.

Defence spokesman Wing Commander Ranjeev Sahoo said in Shillong that two IAF Cheetah helicopters were sent for the rescue and search operations.

�They have flown from Tezpur and searched the route from Tawang to Itanagar. Because of inclement weather they had to come back after two hours of search. But they could not locate the missing chopper. If needed they would be sent again tomorrow,� Sahoo said.

Pawan Hans officials said in Guwahati, �We have not been able to contact our pilots and unless we receive information from them, we cannot confirm any report.�

Bhutan�s denial about any Indian helicopter landing in its territory created more confusion. �We cannot say anything right now apart from this that the chopper was added to our fleet in 2010-end,� said a PHHL officer here.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today spoke to Arunachal Governor J J Singh and enquired about Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu after a helicopter carrying him and four others went missing.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has expressed hope that the Arunachal Chief Minister is safe. gogoi today talked to Arunachal Governor and the Home Secretary over the issue.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Copter with Arunachal CM missing

ITANAGAR, April 30 � The long wait of drama and suspense still continues as the helicopter in which the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was traveling in has remained untraced.

The Pawan Hans helicopter with five people, including Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, onboard that took off at 9.56 am from Tawang helipad went missing around 10.30 this morning. The chopper was scheduled to land at the State capital, Itanagar at 11.30 am.

�The latest information is that there is no confirmation yet about the missing helicopter carrying the Chief Minister and four others,� informed State�s MP Takam Sanjoy.

Earlier on the day, there were conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the chopper that it had made an emergency landing at Toporochi in Bhutan due to inclement weather. Its passengers, including Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, two of his personal aides and two pilots were safe, according to unconfirmed reports.

Sanjoy said search operation for the missing copter will be resumed tomorrow.

Agencies add: The chopper was last in communication with the base when it was overflying Sela Pass, 20 minutes after taking off from Tawang, and all communications were lost after that.

There was confusion in the afternoon with claims made by Governor Gen (retd) J J Singh first and then by the Chief Minister�s Office and Defence spokesperson that the Chief Minister had landed safely in a place called Daporijo in Upper Subansiri district. The CM�s office said the helicopter had landed in a place in Bhutan.

However, later in the evening there were denials from all concerned saying helicopter has not been located and search operation was still on.

�The helicopter is missing and the search operation is still on,� Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said in New Delhi in the evening.

The Arunachal Pradesh government said that it is yet to ascertain the whereabouts of the Pawan Hans chopper which went missing since morning with the Chief Minister and four others on board.

Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Inspector General of Police Robin Hibu said joint search operation for the missing copter will be conducted by Army, Air Force and state police from tomorrow morning by air and through ground.

The five on board included crew members Captain J S Babbar and Captain K S Malick, Khandu�s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.

Defence spokesman Wing Commander Ranjeev Sahoo said in Shillong that two IAF Cheetah helicopters were sent for the rescue and search operations.

�They have flown from Tezpur and searched the route from Tawang to Itanagar. Because of inclement weather they had to come back after two hours of search. But they could not locate the missing chopper. If needed they would be sent again tomorrow,� Sahoo said.

Pawan Hans officials said in Guwahati, �We have not been able to contact our pilots and unless we receive information from them, we cannot confirm any report.�

Bhutan�s denial about any Indian helicopter landing in its territory created more confusion. �We cannot say anything right now apart from this that the chopper was added to our fleet in 2010-end,� said a PHHL officer here.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today spoke to Arunachal Governor J J Singh and enquired about Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu after a helicopter carrying him and four others went missing.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has expressed hope that the Arunachal Chief Minister is safe. gogoi today talked to Arunachal Governor and the Home Secretary over the issue.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)