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Missing copter found in Ch'garh, 4 dead

The EC-135 which went missing on July 14, has been traced near the MP-Chhattisgarh border.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2007 01:41 PM IST

Four persons on board a Chhattisgarh government-owned helicopter, which went missing five days ago, were found dead when the wreckage was spotted in Rajnandgaon district, about 235 km from Raipur, on Wednesday morning.

The wreckage of Eurocopter, which went missing 30 minutes after taking off from Bhopal airport on July 14, was traced near Lamra, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, with the bodies beyond recognition.

Case of the missing copter

• A state government helicopter took off at 11.50 am on Saturday from Bhopal for Raipur.

• Went missing and there was no trace of it till Sunday evening.

• Four people were on board.

• Capt AS Sidhu was the pilot and Vikram Savekar co-pilot.

• Some people at Posera village close to the border were the last to spot it.

• The area where the copetr went missing is a Naxalite infested area.

The chopper had lost contact with Bhopal Air Traffic Control at about 12:25 pm on Saturday with two pilots, Capt A S Sidhu and Capt Vikram Savekar, besides engineer Amitabh Soni and technician Manish Badania on board.

"We have traced the wreckage and the bodies. It is badly burnt. The bodies are also burnt and beyond recognition," Sq Leader (Rtd) Dibya Shankar Mishra, a member of the search party, told PTI.

The copter while negotiating bad weather lost control and hit a 50-feet high hill and caught fire, Mishra said from the site of the accident. Only a portion of the rortar is seen and the rest of the copter is totally burnt, he added.

The search operation was conducted by both serving and retired Air Force personnels. Besides IAF, the help of ISRO was also taken to locate the copter.

The long range MI-8, fitted with extra fuel tank, was called in to carry out a long-time operation over Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The modern missing Eurocopter was fitted with Emergency Locator Transmitter to transmit signals in case of crash or any failure, but did not respond after the accident.

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