Two-day trek leads to wreckage, Dorjee Khandu's body | india | Hindustan Times
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Two-day trek leads to wreckage, Dorjee Khandu's body

The five-day search for Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, 56, ended with bad news on Wednesday. Khandu's body and those of four others were found near the wreckage of the Pawan Hans helicopter that went missing on Saturday morning. Rahul Karmakar reports. Crash site | Factfile: Dorjee Khandu | Political leaders killed in air accidents | Listen to podcast

india Updated: May 05, 2011 01:14 IST
Rahul Karmakar

The five-day search for Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, 56, ended with bad news on Wednesday. Khandu's body and those of four others were found near the wreckage of the Pawan Hans helicopter that went missing on Saturday morning.

The bodies and wreckage were found by locals in a rocky mountainous area in Tawang district, bordering China.

In capital Itanagar, Arunachal government spokesperson Jarbom Gamlin said the bodies of only the chief minister and Yeshi Lhamu, the sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup, could be identified.

"The bodies of security officer Yeshi Choddak and pilots JS Babbar and TS Mamik were charred beyond recognition," he said.

The chopper went missing 20 minutes after taking off from Tawang at 10am on Saturday.

A team of locals trekked for almost two days to the wreckage at 15,000ft near Luguthang, 60 km from Tawang town. Luguthang is one of the world's highest villages and India's remotest polling station.

Officials said an army post near Luguthang had been alerted and army choppers assigned to take the bodies first to Itanagar and then to Tawang.

"Soldiers have started on foot, and once they reach the spot, Chetak helicopters will try to lift the bodies. The area is such that MI-17 helicopters can't operate. The bodies will be lifted one by one, but it will be a difficult job," said Union minister BK Handique, who reached Itanagar on Tuesday.