Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who remained untraced till late night on Wednesday, had taken off early morning from Hyderabad to attend a function in Chittoor district.
The Bell 430 helicopter with five persons on board, including two pilots, took off from the Old Begampet airport around 8.35 am and headed towards a village in Chittoor district, south of Hyderbad, to inaugurate a Rachha Bandha (people interaction programme).
But around 9.13 am, the air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the helicopter, while it was possibly flying over the Nallamala forest ranges — around 140 km from Hyderabad. Panic spread all across the country after the news spread that the helicopter carrying the CM had gone missing.
The state government immediately launched a massive search operation and subsequently alerted the Prime Minister's Office, the Union Home Ministry and Defence Ministry about this development.
A state government, who refused to be identified, said, “Last time, the helicopter was sighted by some local villagers was around 9.15 am.”