Andhra CM Dead:Bell 430 chopper crash

NEW DELHI - Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajshekhera Reddy and four others are feared dead after their Bell 430 chopper crash-landed about 40 nautical miles east of the Kurnool mountainous area.

Congress sources said that they had received reports of five bodies being discovered at the crash site, and added that an official confirmation would be forthcoming in short while. Among the dead are Reddy, his principal secretary, his personal security officer and two pilots.

Earlier, Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said the chopper was in a very damaged state.

The Home Ministry had ordered paratroopers to immediately airdrop themselves at the location to determine the exact physical status of Reddy and the four others.

The State Government is due to address a press conference in a short while to formally confirm the news of his death.

The Congress party is reported to be in a state of shock and the Union Cabinet is meeting to discuss the next steps. (ANI)


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Andhrapradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy is Missing

HYDERABAD - Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K.Rosiah on Wednesday confirmed that the state government helicopter carrying Chief Minister Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy has landed in a forest area in Chitoor District, and efforts are on to locate it.

Addressing a news conference in the state capital, Rosiah said: “All state and central forces are on alert. At the moment, we are still tracing the location of the missing chopper, which has landed in the forests in the Chitoor-Nellore area. We are finding a way to reach the place.”

Rosiah said the state government has alerted the Union Home Ministry about the missing chopper. He said search choppers, including two Indian Air Force Chetak helicopters have been roped in for the search operations. He said that after 9.35 a.m., contact had been lost with the chopper carrying the chief minister.

Rosiah said that the Prime Minister’s office as well as the offices of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony are being kept posted about the latest developments.

He also issued an appeal to the public to contribute to the search effort.

Rosiah’s briefing came as Andhra Pradesh Police continues their search for the missing chopper of the chief minister.

According to police sources, a civilian copter, air force helicopters and the army has been pushed in to the search operation.

Panic was created around Wednesday noon as Reddy was reported untraceable for nearly four hours.

Reddy was on his way to Chitoor, by chopper which initial reports said had made an emergency landing near Kurnool due to inclement weather.

The chopper took off at 8.45 a.m. for Chitoor and was scheduled to arrive here at 10.45 a.m, sources said.

The chopper was said to have landed in the middle a of thick forest, said to be affected by Maoist activities.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) confirmed receiving a message of the emergency landing of the chopper, but nothing thereafter.

Till now, no one has confirmed the movements of Reddy.

The Union Home Ministry is monitoring the search operations, as Kurnool is a Naxal affected area.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) sources said the chopper went off the radar due to heavy rains.

The CMO maintains there is no need to worry as the area has no mobile connectivity. (ANI)

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