ITANAGAR, Aug 6 - Frantic search for the missing Pawan Hans helicopter in the hilly state of Arunachal Pradesh continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday, but the chopper, with three persons on board, including the Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Joshi, remained untraced.
�Although the intensive search continued for the third successive day today, there has been no significant lead into the search and rescue operation,� said the State Civil Aviation Secretary Dr Brij Mohan Mishra when contacted by this correspondent.
Based on the Sukhoi�s ground-mapping analysis, today�s search was concentrated on two-three locations in the thick forests, Mishra said.
On a request from the State government, the Indian Air Force authorities had on Wednesday deployed a Sukhoi fighter aircraft with synthetic aperture radar onboard for ground-mapping to locate the missing helicopter. After surveying the potential areas like Dadam, Thinsa, Pongkhong, Sanliam and Muktowa, the Sukhoi returned to its base at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
Official sources said that the ground search operation by the district administration, Army, police, forest personnel, gaonburahs, panchayat leaders and villagers was started at the crack of dawn with much improved weather today. Six military helicopters, including a Chetak, were pressed into service to carry out the aerial search. But, unfortunately, the search teams remained clueless about the chopper.
The eight-seater helicopter, carrying Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Joshi and the pilot duo, captains MS Brar and Rajeev Hoskote, went missing on Tuesday after taking off from Khonsa around 10.30 am. The Pawan Hans helicopter � a twin-engine Dauphin VT-PHK � lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Chabua five minutes after it took off from the Tirap district headquarters Khonsa for Mohanbari in Dibrugarh via Longding and Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh.