Missing copter may have made safe landing: Aviation body

APACL Managing Director K V Brahmananda Reddy said in a press release tonight said that the helicopter was suitably equipped with an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) capable of automatic transmission of frequency 121.5 and 243 MHz which would have activated in case of any crash landing or such other unforseen eventuality.

"One Dornier 228 twin engine aircraft has been launched from IAF Base at Yelahanka which is specifically equipped to pick up ELT frequency transmission. The aircraft did not pick up any transmission in the target zone as identified from the last known HF transmission," he said.

"As there is no indication of such an activation/pick up by satellite, we can expect no such eventuality. The likelihood of the helicopter having carried out a safe landing at some inaccessible location is highly probable. Intensified efforts are being coordinated at day break," he said.

Accordingly, the Command and Control Centre would be set up at Kurnool at the first opportunity after the day-break tomorrow, Reddy added. The APACL official said search and rescues efforts have been initiated by coordinating with all agencies concerned as per stipulated norms.

An IAF Chetak helicopter was launched from Air Force Station at Hakimpet here and simultaneously an AW-139 helicopter carried out a search operation.

Simultaneously, the IAF also launched one Mi-8 helicopter and ALH from Air Force Base at Yelahanka. A twin- engine civil helicopter belonging to Deccan Charters was also pressed into search and rescue operations. However, the helicopter returned to Begumpet due to rain and bad weather enroute, Brahmananda Reddy said. A civil twin-engine Cessna 206 was launched for carrying out an aerial survey.

The Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corporation Limited Managing Director said the two pilots of the helcopter carrying the Chief Minister Capt S K Bhatia and Capt M S Reddy were highly experienced and flying for Andhra Pradesh government for the last three years.

"The Captain is a highly quaified IAF serving officer holding the rank of Group Captain," Brahmananda Reddy said. The helicopter was fully airworthy and suitably equipped for the planned programme and the certificate of airworthiness issued by DGCA, Hyderabad, on December 6 last year was valid upto December 5, 2010.

The aircraft got airborne with fuel adequate for three hours. The aircraft had last made contact on VHF with Shamshabad Radar Frequency at 0900 hrs and indicated to be on radial 169 at a distance of 60.00 nautical miles from Shamshabad VOR-HIA.

The helicopter consequently made HF radio contact with Chennai Radio Control at 0902hrs, Reddy said adding thereafter there has been no authenticated communication between the pilots and the passengers of the helicopter with any external agencies.

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