The helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and four others appeared to have exploded after hitting a hillock, said a senior official on Thursday.
The bodies of all five people were charred due to the fire which engulfed the chopper after the crash and explosion. The bodies, found on Thursday morning, were in a state of decomposition while the chopper was in pieces.
"It appears that because of inclement weather and to avoid cloud formation, the pilot had taken a detour and in the process deviated from the regular flight path. From preliminary inquiry, it appears the chopper hit the cliff of a hillock, crashed into it and perhaps exploded," said Chief Secretary P Ramakant Reddy.
The chopper had deviated 18 km to the east from the regular flight path. "On first examination we were communicated that the bodies were charred and getting into decomposition."
"The chopper was in bits and pieces, strewn all over on the peak of hillock, about 40 nautical miles from Kurnool town," he told reporters, giving the first official account of the crash.
He said five helicopters resumed search operations at 6.25 am on Thursday and a chopper sighted the crash site around 8.30 am.
Since it was not possible for any of the search helicopters to land near the hillock due to trees, bushes and other obstructions there, commandos were air-dropped near the site.
Reddy said no one except the commandos could reach the crash site.
"The commandos located three bodies, some time later a fourth one and with great difficulty found the fifth. The bodies were in a state of decomposition due to rains in the area since yesterday," Reddy said.
The bodies were being flown to Kurnool town, where an autopsy would be conducted.