Arunachal CM still missing, Bad weather affects Search

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu's family - his four wives and five children - are passing through agonising moments and praying for his safe return as rescue teams search the mountains for his missing chopper. Inclement weather on Sunday affected the aerial search to trace the missing helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others even as the Army, SSB, ITBP and the state police launched a massive ground operations to locate it. Defence sources said 30 columns of the Indian Army comprising 2,400 personnel from Tawang and Tenga were pressed in different locations along the Indo-Bhutan border on ground search. Six ITBP teams with 25 personnel each have also joined the ground search operations. More Army columns are likely to join soon while two Chetak helicopters from Guwahati and an MI-17 IAF chopper from Tawang are on sorties.
IAF officials said in New Delhi that two Sukhoi-30 warplanes have been dispatched from Bareli to scan the general area using their special radars. Sukhoi planes have helped in locating the wreckage of the missing chopper of the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in September, 2009. Reddy and four others on board the chopper died.
The four-seater single-engine Pawan Hans helicopter AS-B350-B-3 chopper went missing yesterday after 20 minutes of its take off from Tawang at 9.56 am last morning with five on board including crew members Captain J S Babbar, Captain T S Mamik, Khandu's security officer Yeshi Choddak and a lady Yeshi Lhamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup. The chopper was to land at Itanagar at about 11.30 am. The Guwahati air traffic control had reportedly received the last radio communication from the chopper near Sela Pass area, 20 minutes after take off from Tawang. Sela Pass is at about 13,750 feet above sea level where weather changes drastically within minutes.