No clues on missing chopper after five days | india | Hindustan Times
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No clues on missing chopper after five days

The helicopter carrying four people that went missing on Sunday, continue to elude search teams in the jungles along the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border, reports Ejaz Kaiser.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2008 00:14 IST
Ejaz Kaiser

The helicopter carrying four people that went missing on Sunday, continued to elude search teams in the jungles along the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border.

Four helicopters — two of the Indian Air Force, and one each of the state government and Coast Guard — have been carrying out aerial searches, but with no results. The owners of the missing helicopter, Ran Air Company, have deployed their own aircraft in the hunt, and have been equally unsuccessful. Police teams are in the forests but searches have been greatly hampered by the thick forest and unceasing rain.

The helicopter, hired by the government to transport its engineer Santosh Singh and technician Ashwani Kumar from Hyderabad to Raipur, lost contact with air traffic control half an hour after it took off from Hyderabad on Sunday.

The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) aerially surveyed the area on Tuesday. A police team managed to reach the spot pinpointed by its data on Friday but found only metallic sheets.

"No aerial search was possible on Friday because of the weather," said D.S. Mishra, chief pilot of Chhatisgarh.

Chief Minister Raman Singh denied any negligence on the officials' part. "The topography and poor weather are creating problems, but we are doing our best," he asserted. Though Dantewada is a Naxalite stronghold, Singh categorically refuted an earlier suggestion that the missing men may have been taken hostage after landing.

Relatives of the pilot, co-pilot and two engineers, camping at a nearby guesthouse, are growing impatient. But they haven't lost hope. "We are hoping for a miracle," said a relative of co-pilot VP Singh.