BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs today has confirmed that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, whose chopper carrying him along with four others, including the crew members, went missing on April 30, has been killed in the helicopter crash.
The chopper crashed between Kyela and Lobothang near Tawang District at a height of 4,900 metres. Search operations are in progress to locate the chief minister’s body. Three bodies were today sighted along with the debris of a helicopter at a place on the path the helicopter carrying Dorjee Khandu and four others had taken.
A Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter took off from Tawang at 9.50 am on April 30 and lost communication with the ground after it flew past the Sela Pass along the Chinese border about 20 to 25 minutes later. The helicopter was scheduled to land in Itanagar at 11.30 am on the same day.
Massive ground search operations have been conducted over the last few days, with bad weather making it tough for Air Force searches to operate. Satellite images from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have also been studied by experts involved in the search and rescue operations.
Apart from Khandu, the people on board included crew members Captain J S Babbar and Captain K S Malick, Khandu’s Security Officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang legislator Tsewang Dhondup.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today condoled the sad demise of the chief minister.
In a statement, Krishna said: “I am deeply pained to receive confirmation of the tragic and untimely demise of a great son of India and the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.”
“He was dedicated to the cause of improving the quality of lives of the people of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.
He further said: “In his (Khandu) death, the state and country has lost a visionary administrator and an excellent human being. I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to members of his family and friends.