YSR copter missing: Congress says it is an evolving situation

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New Delhi, Sep.2 (ANI): The Congress party on Wednesday held an emergency press briefing here with regard to the missing state government helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy.

Party spokesman Manish Tewari told media persons that it is an evolving situation that is being closely monitored by the Central and State Governments, besides the Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The party said that state government is handling a very sensitive situation as the copter is said to have landed somewhere in the forests between the three districts of Rayalseema, Prakasham and Chitoor.

Tewari said that every effort was being made to resolve the situation as quickly as possible given the limited time available. He said that four Indian Air Force helicopters, one MI8 and a Dhruv chopper have been pressed into the rescue operation.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K.Rosiah confirmed that the chopper carrying the Chief Minister had landed in a forest area and efforts were on to locate it.

Addressing a news conference in Hyderabad, Rosiah said: "All state and central forces are on alert. At the moment, we are still tracing the location of the missing chopper, which has landed in the forests in the Chitoor-Nellore area. We are finding a way to reach the place."

Rosiah said the state government has alerted the Union Home Ministry about the missing chopper. He said that after 9.35 a.m., contact had been lost with the chopper carrying the chief minister.

Rosiah said that the Prime Minister's office as well as the offices of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony are being kept posted about the latest developments.

He also issued an appeal to the public to contribute to the search effort.

Rosiah's briefing came as Andhra Pradesh Police continues their search for the missing chopper.

Panic was created around Wednesday noon as Reddy was reported untraceable for nearly four hours.

Reddy was on his way to Chitoor, by chopper which initial reports said had made an emergency landing near Kurnool due to inclement weather.

The chopper took off at 8.45 a.m. for Chitoor and was scheduled to arrive here at 10.45 a.m, sources said.

The chopper was said to have landed in the middle of a thick forest, said to be affected by Maoist activities.

The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) confirmed receiving a message of the emergency landing of the chopper, but nothing thereafter.

Till now, no one has confirmed the movements of Reddy.

The Union Home Ministry is monitoring the search operations, as Kurnool is a Naxal affected area.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) sources said the chopper went off the radar due to heavy rains.

The CMO maintains there is no need to worry as the area has no mobile connectivity. (ANI)

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