Searches fail to locate chopper on second day

Last Updated 05 August 2015, 14:31 IST

Faced with inclement weather, the search for the missing Pawan Hans chopper in Arunachal Pradesh failed to yield any result on the second day today during which a Sukhoi of the Indian Air Force conducted an hour-long recce to collect photographs.

The weather deterred two IAF choppers from undertaking search operations which was carried out by 13 columns of Army and coordinated from Khonsa along with state police and Assam Riles, district administration officials, panchayat members and villagers, Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi told a press conference here.

The operation which began early at 3.30 am was called off at 4.30 pm due to poor visibility. It would resume early tomorrow, he said adding six choppers would be pressed into service depending on the weather condition.

The technology adopted by the Sukhoi to take photographs through Synthetic Aperture Radar equipment will help the search parties to zero in on the area and the search operation could be narrowed down to a particular area.

The areas where  the recce were conducted included Dadam, Thinsa Kheti, Pongkhong Sanglem, Muktowa and Changlang-Khonsa road, Negi said.

The Eastern Air Command based in Shillong has, however, informed Arunachal Pradesh government that it would take almost four hours to analyze the pictures.

"We are hoping for the report in time so that the search operation could be continued tomorrow," he said.

Searches were conducted at Kalagaon and Lamlo villages and its neighbouring areas in Tirap district as villagers claimed to have heard a blast-like sound at around 11 AM yesterday but nothing was spotted, district Information and Public Relation Officer (DIPRO) D Bosai, who is a member of the search team said.

The Dauphin chopper of state-run Pawan Hans went missing with Tirap DC Kamlesh Kumar Joshi and two pilots - Captain M S Brar and Captain Rajeev Hoskote, after the take off from Khonsa in Tirap district at around 10.45 am yesterday. The chopper was on way to Longding to pick up its Deputy Commissioner and that of Changlang who were proceed to New Delhi to attend an important meeting on August 6, officials said.

Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a preliminary inquiry into the incident, while Pawan Hans authorities deputed teams from New Delhi and Guwahati and ordered an internal inquiry, Negi said.

(Published 05 August 2015, 14:31 IST)

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