Families of victims are in a state of shock
The worst ordeal descended on the families of the crew-members of an ill-fated Chhattisgarh government chopper as the news of tracing of crashed wreckage and bodies reached Raipur early on Wednesday morning.
After spending four sleepless nights, the crew members' kin could not believe that they are no more.The family members are in state of shock and inconsolable. Their relatives said that with no authentic information reaching them whether the chopper was simply missing or crashed they were praying and hoping for safe returns of four-crew members.
Pilot Capt AS Sidhu, co-pilot Vikram Savekar, engineer Amitabh Soni and technician Manish Badania were on board in a crashed chopper - 'Eurocopter EC- 135'. Except Savekar who was based in Durg and remaining three resided in Raipur.
The chopper went missing after it took off from Bhopal for Raipur on July 14 noon.
A pall of gloom descended on their colonies as the news about the tragedy reached them. The close relatives, friends and community members crowded the residences of the crew members.
The state Civil Aviation Director Anil Tuteja, chief pilot Captain DS Mishra and other officials visited the bereaved family members and offered condolence. The state government declared to offer an assistance of Rs 10 lakhs each. The bodies are to be brought to Raipur in the evening, according to the officials.
The wreckage of the missing chopper was reportedly found in village Lamhra under Bakarghatta police station in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh.A farmer Mahasingh of village Lamara had gone to a field with his pet dog and buffalo on Tuesday morning. He took a bath in river Tandi, which is flowing on the borders of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Not finding his pet dog he began searching for it and eventually crossed the other bank of the river in MP. He found his dog was standing near some charred human bodies. He also sighted some debris of the crashed chopper nearby and informed his village sarpanch following which the matter was reported to Bakargatta police station in Rajnandgaon.
Chief Minister Raman Singh informed the ongoing Assembly House about locating of the crashed chopper and bodies.
All previous efforts in the last four days to trace the missing chopper by the helicopters of Indian Air Force and Madhya Pradesh government proved futile. The police team and the staff of forest department who were pressed in ground searching also turned out hopeless. Several erroneous reports of possible 'sighting' of the debris of the craft earlier came from the forest and hilly regions of Balaghat and Mandla districts of Madhya Pradesh and Kawardha in Chhattisgarh.
The Eurocopter was reportedly missing in a hilly terrain of Madhya Pradesh an hour after the take-off from Bhopal. "The chopper had gone to Bhopal for maintenance", said Tuteja.