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Raipur: Missing helicopter found; 4 dead
July 18, 2007 12:37 IST
Four persons on board a Chhattisgarh government-owned helicopter, which was missing for five days, were found dead when the wreckage was spotted in Rajnandgaon district, about 235 km from Raipur.
The wreckage of the Eurocopter EC-135, which went missing 30 minutes after taking off from Bhopal airport on July 14, was traced near Lamra, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, with the bodies beyond recognition. The chopper had lost contact with Bhopal Air Traffic Control at about 12:25 PM on Saturday with two pilots, Capt A S Sidhu and Capt Vikram Savekar, besides engineer Amitabh [Images] Soni and technician Manish Badania on board.
"We have traced the wreckage and the bodies. It is badly burnt. The bodies are also burnt and beyond recognition," Sq Leader (Rtd) Dibya Shankar Mishra, a member of the search party, told PTI.
The copter, while negotiating bad weather, lost control and hit a 50-feet high hill and caught fire, Mishra said from the site of the accident.
Only a portion of the rortar is seen and the rest of the copter is totally burnt, he added.
The search operation was conducted by both serving and retired Air Force personnel.
Besides the IAF, the help of ISRO was also taken to locate the copter.
The long range MI-8, fitted with extra fuel tank, was called in to carry out a long-time operation over Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The modern missing Eurocopter was fitted with Emergency Locator Transmitter to transmit signals in case of crash or any failure, but it did not respond after the accident.