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Navy helicopter wreckage located; one survives

August 23, 2005 18:21 IST

After 4 days of intense land-and-air combing operations, naval rescuers located the wreckage of the Kamov-28 helicopter on Tuesday in the slopes of the densely forested Western Ghats, north-east of Belgaum and were pleasantly surprised to find a survivor Sandeep Singh.

Navy's submarine hunter helicopter crashes

"Singh was found close to the wreckage and immediately airlifted to naval hospital in Goa, where he was reported to be recovering in the Intensive Care Unit," a naval spokesman said in New Delhi.

Rescuers also found bodies of four naval personnel -- Commander Ravinder Nath (Navigator), Lt Cdr O Sherawat (Pilot) and two other ranks, A K Singh and W Ravinder -- who were killed in the August 19 crash.

The helicopter was carrying a crew of six and rescuers were still looking for the body of the sixth personnel, Leading Air Mechanic B N Singh.

Vital clues found

The submarine-hunter helicopter was on its way from the naval air station in Dabolim, Goa, to Vishakapatnam when it lost radio contact with the ground control at 1215 hours on Friday.

This was the first crash involving the Russian-acquired chopper.

A report from Bangalore quoting Belgaum district superintendent of police said the wreckage was found on the border of Goa.

Naval officals said the bodies of the 4 personnel, killed in the crash, would be flown to their respective native places and efforts were on to salvage the wreckage.

Weather hampers rescue efforts

The Navy has already ordered a board of enquiry to probe the cause of the crash.

Officials said the sole survivor, whose condition is reported to be stable, would also be asked to narrate the sequence of the events leading to the crash.

Naval aircraft, Coast Guard and the Air Force had been pressed into service with advanced locating devices and even sniffer dogs to find the helicopter.

On the ground, 700 army, police, naval and forest officials were engaged in search operations.

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