Search for missing copter continues

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Jagdalpur, Aug 7 (UNI) Police parties have been dispatched to mountainous region close to Paraspal in Dantewara district and Gangalur in Bijapur district in search for the Bell 436 helicopter, which went missing with four people on board on August 3 on its way from Hyderabad to Raipur.

''Police parties on foot patrol were dispatched after an Indian Airlines search aircraft indicated the possibility of finding wreckage of the plane in the forested area,'' said Dantewara Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma.

The forested area is heavily infested by naxalites.

The helicopter carrying two pilots, an engineer and a technician was hired by the Chhattisgarh government from Raina Aviation company to ferry Home Minister Ramvichar Netam and other leaders for a programme of BJP President Rajnath Singh in Jharkhand.

Both Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh governments had deployed helicopters in search of the missing copter, but they could not succeed due to bad weather as the area was receiving heavy rains, Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma said, adding the aircraft is suspected to have crashed in the forest.

Home Ministry's Joint Secretary V M Gaur arrived here yesterday and held talks with senior police officers to speed up the search operations.

Several police teams had fanned out on foot in search of the white and green-coloured aircraft.

The family of pilot V P Singh also proceeded to Dantewara apparently not satisfied with the government efforts to trace the missing aircraft.

Senior police officers admit that heavy rains and fog in the area was hampering search.

Besides pilot V P Singh, co-pilot R Gaur, engineer Santosh Singh and a technician were aboard the aircraft, while the Raina Aviation Company had announced a reward of Rs one lakh for locating it.

In a similar incident in July last year, a helicopter of Chhattisgarh government carrying four people on board went missing on way to Raipur from Bhopal after a routine checkup and after a few days search, its remains and the charred bodies were located with the help of a farmer's pet dog in a mountainous region in Balaghat district on MP-Chhattisgarh border.

UNI XC-PS-SP 1229

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