Reddy's chopper had deviated from route, hit a cliff


 "The chopper hit the cliff, crashed and exploded. All the five persons in the ill-fated helicopter were burnt to death," state Finance Minister K Rosaiah and Chief Secretary P Ramakanth Reddy said here today.

The chopper might have drifted from its path because of a large cloud formation due to inclement weather and ended up hitting the cliff, they said.

Except the tail portion, the body of the Bell-430 helicoper of AP Aviation Corporation was reduced to bits and pieces in the mishap.

The helicopter crashed 10 km away from Rudrakoduru on a hostile terrain and army commandos had to slither down with the help of a rope from a rescue helicopter.

"Initially three bodies were traced and then the fourth one. It took a while to locate the fifth body. We have identified the bodies from the dresses," Director General of Police S S P Yadav said.

The bodies were being shifted to Kurnool for post-mortem after which they will be airlifted to Hyderabad by a MI-8 helicopter of the Indian Air Force.

The Chief Minister's body would be placed in his camp office and shifted to Lal Bahadur Stadium where it would be kept in state for people to pay homage.

"The Chief Minister's body will be flown to his native Pulivendula town for the last rites on Friday afternoon," the Chief Secretary said.

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