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Sukhoi detected ‘aircraft-like something’ in Bhutan : Nohwar
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAY 2:
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Published on 3 May. 2011 1:37 AM IST
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Expressing the hope that the helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu would be located, the Indian Air Force (IAF) Monday said that the images taken by two Sukhoi aircraft have detected ‘an aircraft-like something’ in an area in Bhutan. Khandu and four others went missing since Saturday after it took off from Tawang at 9.50 a.m and remained untraced for the third consecutive day.
“Technical means are available with the country (India) and far more superior. I am quite positive. We will be able to find the location (the whereabouts of the helicopter) shortly,” Air Marshal KK Nohwar, chief of Eastern Air Command, told journalists. “Sukhoi 30s with recee pods and ISRO have managed to pick up something which has been given for assessment. The data (from Sukhoi and ISRO) is being corroborated with the ground situation,” he said.
On Sunday, two satellites from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had taken images but they were hazy due to bad weather. Two Sukhoi-30 aircrafts from a base in Bareilly also completed aerial mapping over Arunachal Pradesh Sunday in an attempt to get definite clues about the missing helicopter. Nohwar said “Information coming from villagers say they have heard or saw something and are being collated with other inputs and based on that search is being conducted.”
Expressing concern over the incident, the Air Marshal said, “From the time we got the information, we have launched our helicopters to the areas we have received the inputs. We also made attempts to go that side (Bhutan) based on inputs. The army has also launched a massive operation on the ground.” The Crisis Management Team monitoring the rescue and search operation here identified three possible locations where the helicopter might have landed or crashed - Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagajen in the state’s West Kameng district, and the small village of Mobi in Trashiyangtse district of Bhutan.
Asked if the chopper have crashed, Nohwar said “it is too early to say about the reason. The weather could be one of the reasons. But the aircraft involved here....is a brand new aircraft.” When asked if China had anything to do with the missing chopper, Nohwar said, “Let’s not jump the gun and I don’t think so.”
ITBP rules out Khandu chopper in Chinese border
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Monday ruled out that the helicopter carrying Dorjee Khandu might have strayed into the Chinese border. “It is unlikely that anything might have happened that side (Chinese border). But we have alerted our troops,” MS Bhurji, the ITBP chief in Eastern Sector, told journalists.
“If at all something has happened, it must have happened in and around the Sela Pass,” he added. Bhurji said around 100 troopers divided into four parties have been pressed for ground search around the Sela Pass area.
“The terrain is treacherous one with high altitude and covered with thick forests. Our troops are on foot and covering in area of radius 10-15 km,” the ITBP Chief said. Bhurji said the coordination of the search is from three places – Itanagar at the state government level, Tawang at the DC level and Dirang at the local administration level.

 
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