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Tracing the biggest search operation

Following is a blow by blow account of the missing helicopter of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy:

india Updated: Sep 03, 2009, 15:58 IST

September 2, 2009:

08:35 am: Twin-engined Bell 430 AP government helicopter Carrying the Chief Minister takes off from old Begumpet airport. The helicopter, also carrying Chief Minister's Principal Secretary S Subramanyam and Chief Security Officer ASC Wesley, heads for Chitoor district.

09:35 am: Helicopter, flown by two pilots, loses contact While possibly flying over Nallamalla forest ranges, a stronghold of the Naxalites, in the Rayalaseema Region. Prime Minister's Office, Union Home Ministry and Defence Ministry alerted. Office of Congress President Sonia Gandhi in touch with the state government. Four helicopters, including three belonging to IAF Pressed into search operations, but no contact Established because of strong winds and inclement. Two IAF helicopters from Hakimpet air command in Secunderabad return because of inclement weather, while three from Bangalore air command and one private helicopter from Nellore were involved in search operations. An unmanned aerial vehicle from the Defence Ministry also pressed into service.

04:00 pm: Finance Minister K Rosaiah addresses press conference in Hyderabad to say no word on the Chief Minister. Time for carrying out search operations runs out as sunset approaches.

05:30 pm: CRPF personnel and army jawans enter Nallamalai forest with night vision devices.

06:30 pm: Search called off due to poor light and bad weather.

07:00 pm: IAF Sukhoi-30 MKI with thermal imaging devices deployed. Remote Sensing Agency's pilot-less aircraft deployed
for aerial search during night.

September 3, 2009:

05:00 am: Sukhoi aircraft and a pilot-less low-flying ISRO Aircraft scour the forest area to locate the missing Chopper in a 5-km radius area.

06:30 am: Search operations resume with the help of four Choppers. Union Ministers Veerappa Moily and Prithviraj Chavan reach here from Delhi to monitor the Operations.

08:30 am: Ill-fated helicopter located 40 km east of Kurnool In the hills of Nallamalai ranges.

10:00 am: Bodies of Chief Minister and four other persons Accompanying him and the mangled remains of the Helicopter found on Rudrakonda Hill, 40 nautical Miles east of Kurnool.

10:30 am: Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, AK Antony, P Chidambaram and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel meet in the core group.

12:30 am: Home Minister P Chidambaram announces the death of YS Rajasekhara Reddy and four others in the crash.

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