Chopper found in mangled state, YSR’s fate uncertain



Hyderabad: Twenty-four hours after it went off the radar, the chopper carrying Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy has been found on Rudrakonda hill in the dense Nallamalla forests at a distance of 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool town.

Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said in Delhi that it seems the helicopter has crash landed but there is no confirmation.

He said the Air Force was attempting to drop para commandos to the spot through ropes to look for survivors.

Other sources said that the helicopter has been found in a mangled state.

Inspector General of Police Rajiv Trivedi, who is leading the ground search operations, has also confirmed that the missing chopper has been traced. He is directing forces to the exact spot to physically verify the spot.

However, as of now, the fate of the Chief Minister, his Principal Secretary Subramanyam, Chief Security Officer A S C Wesley and the Pilot and Co-Pilot Group Captain S K Bhatia and Capt M S Reddy remains uncertain.

The IAF had broke the news about finding the chopper while remaining tight lipped on the condition of those on board.

“We have located the helicopter. It is on top of a hill at a distance of 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool. We are trying to find out if there are survivors. We are not sure if it has crashed or not,” Air Commodore Sagar Bharati of the Bangalore Air Command who is incharge of the search operations told reporters in Kurnool.

The 11-year-old Bell 430 helicopter had lost radio contact one hour after it took off the from the old Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad at 0835 hrs yesterday

In Delhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram met Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh to apprise him of the latest situation.

YSR, others condole death


HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and presidents of the TDP, Praja Rajyam, BJP and Lok Satta parties, N. Chandrababu Naidu, K. Chiranjeevi, B. Dattatreya and Jayaprakash Narayan and CPI State secretary K. Narayana in separate statements condoled prominent journalist K. N.Y. Patanjali’s death. Telakapalli Ravi, convener of Sahiti Sravanti, also mourned the death, which he said was a loss to the literary world.

APCC chief D. Srinivas and Avula Manjulata, former Vice-Chancellor of Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, also condoled the death.

Andhra student killed in car accident in US



Naresh hit a tree in an effort to save a cat in Dayton, Ohio


Washington: A 22-year-old student from Hyderabad was killed in a freak car accident in the US. Naresh Dacha, first year MS (EE) student at Wright State University, was driving from his home to the university on Tuesday morning along with his friend Varun when his car hit a tree on Route 22 in Dayton, Ohio.

The accident occurred around 5.30 a.m. when Naresh hit the tree in an effort to save a cat.

Friend safe

Varun, who was in the front passenger’s seat, was safe with minor injuries, said Prasad Thotakura, president-elect of TANA. “We have informed the parents of Naresh. We are making all the necessary arrangements to send the body to Hyderabad as soon as possible,” Mr. Thotakura told PTI.

Naresh completed his B.Tech from Arora Engineering College, Bhuvangiri, Nalgonda district in 2008 and joined Wright State University in January 2009. He is survived by his parents and brother who live in Hyderabad. It is very sad to see a young bright student losing his life in a freak horrific accident. Bhaskar Dacha, father of Naresh, was in a great shock seeking TANA help to send Naresh’s body to Hyderabad to pay last respects to his beloved son,” said Jayaram Komati, president, TANA. — PTI

Two succumb to swine flu


Both cases were critical when they were admitted, says District Collector

Both had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS is infection of lungs, according to doctors


HYDERABAD: Hyderabad reported its first swine flu deaths with two persons, both with no prior travel history, succumbing to the H1N1 virus. The victims, T. Malyadri (35), died in the wee hours of Wednesday while Prasad (25), died on the night of August 31. Apparently, shocked by the news of Malyadri’s death, his wife T. Shobha suffered a stroke and took a fall from the stairs in their house and later succumbed to injuries.

Malyadri was admitted to a corporate hospital on August 30 and was pronounced dead on Wednesday morning after he suffered a cardiac arrest. Doctors said he also had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), an infection of lungs in addition to swine flu.

The second victim, Prasad, was shifted to Erragadda Chest Hospital from Osmania General Hospital in the morning of August 31 and died on the same day. Doctors said Prasad died due to ARDS.

“Both cases were critical when they were admitted. We appeal the public to visit doctors at swine flu screening centres if flu like symptoms persists after three days of medication from a local doctor.

The dead bodies have been packed according to WHO guidelines and their relatives have been counselled,” informed district Collector Mr. Naveen Mittal. Malyadri, a builder by profession, was a resident of Satyanarayana Nagar, Gudimalkapur while Prasad hailed from B.N. Reddy Nagar at Champapet.

“As a precaution relatives have been given doses of Oseltamivir. We are contacting residents in the neighbourhood and those with flu like symptoms would be given treatment,” said District Medical and Health Officer (DM&HO) Dr. CH. Jaya Kumari. Chest Hospital doctors said that the health condition of Prasad was ‘bad’ when he was admitted.

“He had respiratory distress syndrome along with swine flu,” State coordinator for swine flu Dr. K. Subhakar said.

On ventilator

Meanwhile, the 38-year-old woman, admitted to Chest Hospital, continues to fight for life.

“She is still on the ventilator. We are monitoring her round the clock,” Dr. Subhakar said. Till now, about 195 positive cases of swine flu have been identified in the State.

Woman dies after swine flu claims husband


Relatives not prepared to confront last journey’ of two members in one family

Shobha suffered a stroke; the couple is survived by three children

She stopped eating food since Aug. 30 when her husband was hospitalised


PHOTO: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

Tragic: The two young sons of realtor Malayadri carry the urn for the final rites, with masks over their faces at Satyanarayana Colony near Attapur in Hyderabad on Tuesday. –

HYDERABAD: The rose petals, strewn all along the streets of Satyanarayana Nagar at Gudimalkapur till the main road, suggested of a last journey. But, relatives of T. Malyadri, one among the two persons to die of swine flu in the capital, never ever dreamt and were not prepared to confront the ‘last journey’ of two members in one family.

The denouement of Malyadri’s wife, Shobha and the daunting prospect of raising three children, two boys and one girl, have left relatives heart broken.

Relatives shocked

“She stopped eating food since August 30, when he was taken to the private hospital. She insisted that she will consume food once he returns,” aunt of Malyadri, Lakshmi recalls.

The Satyanarayana Nagar colony on Wednesday afternoon was abuzz, as friends, relatives, neighbourhood women made a beeline to pay their respects to the husband and wife duo.

The women of the neighbourhood were huddled together, discussing about the incident.

Bolt from the blue

“It was a consanguineous marriage. They have three lovely kids and it’s a shock for all of us. Till yesterday everything seemed so perfect and simple,” says housewife Sunitha, a neighbour. The neighbours were still in disbelief, as nobody expected Malyadri to test positive for swine flu.

“The local doctor said that it was dengue. He gave some medicines but Malyadri’s condition did not improve. That’s when we decided to shift him to a private hospital. But, we never thought that he will have swine flu because he did not travel outside,” pointed out Ms. Lakshmi.

Grief-stricken

According to relatives, when the ambulance arrived to the residence on Wednesday morning, Shobha rushed downstairs. Then suddenly she suffered a stroke, slipped and fell down.

“We rushed her in the same ambulance to a private hospital. But, she died before reaching the hospital. The kids are shocked,” said Ms. Laksmi, amidst sobs.

Chopper flown by experienced pilot

HYDERABAD: The Bell-430 helicopter carrying Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and his close aides to Chittoor district on Wednesday was flown by highly qualified Indian Air Force serving office in the rank of Group Captain.

Qualified

Group Captain S. K. Bhatia and co-pilot M.S. Reddy were fully qualified, instrument rated, highly experienced and flying in the AP Government for the last three years.

Managing Director of AP Aviation Corporation Limited K.V. Brahmananda Reddy said the helicopter was fully airworthy and suitably equipped for the planned programme.

The Certificate of Airworthiness issued by Director General of Civil Aviation, Hyderabad in December last was valid up to December 12 this year.

The aircraft got airborne with fuel adequate for three hours (endurance) and last made contact on VHF with Shamshabad radar frequency at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at 9 a.m. and indicated to be on radial 169 at a distance of 60.00 Nautical miles from Shamshabad VOR-HIA.

The helicopter consequently made HF radio contact with Chennai Radio Control at 9.02 a.m.

Thereafter there has been no authenticated communication between the pilots and the passengers with any external agencies.

Now search and rescues efforts have been initiated by coordinating with all concerned agencies as per stipulated norms.

On suitable instructions one IAF Chetak helicopter was launched from Air Force Station, Hakimpet. Simultaneously AW-139 Helicopter was launched for search and rescue with adequate endurance for three and half hours.

The IAF also launched one Mi-8 helicopter and ALH from Air Force Base Yelahanka, one twin engine civil helicopter belonging to Deccan Charters. The helicopter returned to Begumpet due to rain and bad weather en route.

Aerial survey

One civil twin engine Cessna 206 was launched for aerial survey. Plans afloat launched IAF HS749 Avro aeroplane to carry out low level reconnaissance.

This mission launched will depend on sunlight conditions and final clearance from IAF headquarters.

Mr. Brahmananda Reddy said, “ there is no indication of such an activation/pick up by satellite. We can expect no such eventuality.” The likelihood of the helicopter having carried out a safe landing at some inaccessible location is highly probable.

Intensified efforts are being coordinated at day break.

Air Force Base at Yelahanka, Air Officer Commanding, Air Commodore V. S. Bharati has been designated by IAF as search and rescue Commander.

Accordingly Command and Control Centre would be set up at Kurnool at the first opportunity after the day break i.e., on Thursday.

All search activity undertaken so far has been briefed and simultaneous next activity would be coordinated and any information passed on to Mobile No. 09845288365.

All Greyhounds units in Nallamala


Biggest search and rescue operation on by nearly 2,000 personnel in the forest area

The core area has been divided into blocks

Teams to move in linear or circular method


HYDERABAD: M.S. Reddy, one of the pilots of the missing Bell-430 helicopter carrying Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had earlier undertaken sorties in combat situations to evacuate injured Greyhounds commandoes in Chhattisgarh as well as in Andhra Pradesh.

He had landed the same helicopter in bush jungles even while a close quarter battle was on to evacuate injured commandoes once in Mahabubnagar district and another time in Chhattisgarh when Greyhounds teams had exchanged fire with Maoists. “He is extremely skilful in landing and taking off. There is every possibility that he could have led the Bell-430 for a partly controlled landing in a remote area or on a sheet of rock, if the chopper developed any technical snag,” a senior police officer well-versed with anti-insurgency operations, confided.

Authorities monitoring the biggest ever search and rescue mission in the country have calculated the chopper’s last ‘latlong’ position on the basis of its last communication with ATC at RGIA in Shamshabad.

The Bell-430 was on “radial 169 at a distance of 60.00 Nautical miles from Shamshabad VOR-HIA,” an official communiqué said in the evening.

Road found

Depending on this position, authorities found that there was a road, six kilometres away from the last ‘latlong’ position, which helped authorities to demarcate a ‘core area’ for taking up intensive search operations. While high-end technology including thermal imaging is being taken up to identify the wreckage or the landed chopper, entire strength of Greyhounds, nearly two battalions (roughly around 2,000 strength) has been moved into Nallamala forest area.

“This is perhaps the first time that all units of Greyhounds have been deployed in Nallamala. They are the masters of the terrain. But, poor visibility makes movement very slow. Since, there is no known movement of Maoist squads, we can preclude possibility of an exchange of fire. But care has to be taken to avoid friendly fire between different units on the move,” another senior official said.

To take up such a massive operation, the core area has been divided into blocks. Within each block, each unit would move in different formations.

Depending on the terrain whether it is flat ground or undulating, teams would move in linear or circular approaches, which are similar to crime scene search methods.

In linear method, troops would move from Point A to Point B and then proceed to another point. In the circular approach, the personnel would either move from the periphery towards the centre or centre to periphery in an identified area.

Rigorous training

The Greyhounds personnel are trained to survive in jungles for nearly a week living on the rations they carry. The Long Route Patrols (LRPs) are undertaken with every commando carrying a haversack weighing nearly 20 kg in addition to their weapons and ammunition.

YS Rajashekhara Reddy’s helicopter has been located on top of a hill about 40 nautical miles (74 km)

LOST IN JUNGLE THE

Biggest-ever search on for CM

YSR’s Chopper Goes Missing Over Dense Nallamala Forests

Hyderabad: It was a flight that should not have taken off at all. The weather report was that there would not only be heavy rainfall but there would be a likelihood of lightning and thunderstorm too. But Rajasekhara Reddy was firm. He was to kickstart a new village mass contact programme called Rachchabanda from Chittoor district at 10.30 am and there was no way that he was missing his appointment.
Sometimes people are driven to their doom and this was one of those instances. The Bell-430 took off at 8.38 am from Begumpet airport on its 500-km journey. For about half an hour things were hunky dory and
the pilot was in touch with the air traffic control (ATC). But soon after entering the thick Nallamala forest, it ran into problems. Rain was falling in a thick sheet and the visibility was zero (Nallamala forest areas reported 30 cms of rain in the last 24 hours). What happened thereafter remains in the realms of speculation but in all probability the helicopter went down. The copter was last in contact with the ATC at 9.12 am. “It was last sighted by villagers between Atmakur and Bandiatmakur close to Rollapenta entering the Nallamala forests from Kurnool district towards Prakasam district between 9.15 am and 9.30 am,” chief secretary P Ramakanth Reddy said.
Apart from YSR, special secretary P Subrahmanyam, his chief security officer ASC Wesley, two pilots — group captain S K Bhatia and captain M S Reddy — were on the
chopper. What is causing immense worry is that Nallamala is a dense forest and a hilly region (that is an extension of the Eastern Ghats). Once a hotbed of Maoists, the forest is also a tiger territory. “For the last three days, the forest region has seen heavy rains and zero visibility. The Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers are overflowing and the Srisailam reservoir is full. The area is full of water,” A V Rao, a Kurnool resident, told TOI. The area is sparsely populated with Chenchu tribals. “It is an inaccessible area with no cell phone towers, radio signals,” Rao added. Strangely enough, the helicopter carrying the chief minister — the Bell 430 — did not have a satellite phone connection.
Alarm bells started ringing in the state government headquarters from mid-day but police parties which were sent out drew a blank as they could not venture out too
much in the inclement weather. Meanwhile, the rumour mill was active with stories flying thick and fast about how the chief minister had been rescued. Faced with a barrage of queries, the finance minister called for a press conference to deny that Reddy had been found.
Later in the day, the chief secretary said two IAF helicopters from Bangalore and one private chopper from Krishnapatnam in Nellore district scouted the area during the day amidst the heavy rain but found no sign of the CM’s
chopper. “Earlier, two IAF choppers from Hakimpet had set out but had to return halfway because of the inclement weather. The state has now deployed an aircraft belonging to the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) which is operating throughout Monday night at a height of 1.5 km over the forest area where the helicopter was last sighted,” the chief secretary said. Teams which entered the Nallamala forests during the day on foot had to return because of adverse weather conditions. “We went up to 20 kms into the forest but had to return as the rivers are in spate,” K Subba Reddy, a local resident of Velgodu village, told TOI over phone after returning to the village.
Late on Wednesday night, hundreds of Greyhounds personnel moved into the Nallamala forests with the help of tractors from Nallakaluva village in Kurnool district as part of the search operations.
Revenue and forest officials, AP Special Police and tribals have also been pressed into service, the chief secretary said.

Pilot’s last msg: Climbing 550…

Victor Tango Alpha Pappa Golf calling Chennai radio. We are from Hyderabad heading for Chittoor… We are climbing 550 (5,500 ft). Expected time of arrival at Chittoor.” That was the last radio communication from the pilot of YSR’s chopper to the Flight Information Region in Chennai, at around 9.03 am.

WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED
SAFE LANDING: YSR’s chopper lands safely in Nallamala forest. YSR and other chopper occupants, though safe, remain inaccessible due to heavy rain and because mobile networks do not work
CRASH LANDING:
Chopper crash-lands. Occupants injured, unable to reach out for help
EXPLOSION : Chopper explodes mid-air or while touching down. Emergency locator and transmitter in the chopper runs out of battery or is damaged in the explosion
CRASH OVER KRISHNA RIVER: Pilot force-lands over Krishna while trying to fly back to Hyderabad from Pamulapadu after reestablishing contact with Shamshabad ATC
NAXAL ANGLE: Though Maoist activity has not been reported from Pamulapadu area for some time, could it be that YSR is captured by the naxals?


IAF locates Andhra CM’s chopper near Kurnool

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy’s helicopter has been located on top of a hill about 40 nautical miles (74 km) east of Kurnool at a place called Rollapenta.

CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief reports that government sources have claimed that the helicopter had crash landed and was completely burnt.

“There is almost no chance of any survivors,” reports Rajdeep.

Earlier, Indian Air Force officer Air Commodore Sagar Bharati of the Bangalore Air Command, who is monitoring the search and rescue operation, confirmed that IAF helicopters have located the helicopter but he refused to say if the chopper had crashed or was in good condition.

“Chief Minister’s helicopter has been located. It is on top of a hill 40 nautical miles (74 km) east of Kurnool. We are trying to find out if there are survivors. Air Force helicopters are over the location. We are not sure if it has crashed,” said Air Commodore Sagar Bharati.

“Two helicopters are orbiting at the site. Air Force helicopter are trying to land because the helicopter is on the top of the hill, it’s a jungle so it is difficult to land,” the Air Commodore said.

Union Home Ministry sources confirmed that Andhra Chief Minister’s helicopter has been located 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool.

The sources said that as a rescue helicopter had problem in landing on a hilltop, so another helicopter has been sent with commandos who will slither down and see whether there are any survivors.

Air Force helicopter to trace missing chopper

An Indian Air Force helicopter

was on Sunday pressed into service to trace the Chhattisgarh government chopper, which went missing with

four people on board.

IAF M-8 helicopter was pressed into service to trace the state government’s Eurocopter EC-135, which went missing with two pilots and two engineering staff after taking off at 11:50 am from Bhopal for Raipur on Saturday, officials.

The Eurocopter EC-135 lost contact with Bhopal Air Traffic Control at about 12:25 pm. It has two pilots Capt A S Sidhu and Capt Vikram Savekar besides Engineer Amitabh Soni and Technician Manish Badania on board, they said.

After having failed to trace the chopper, the state governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are also sending their helicopters and planes on the air route between Bhopal and Raipur to trace the missing Eurocopter, they said.

State Director Civil Aviation Anil Tuteja said the Eurocopter had gone to Bhopal for maintenance and while returning it went missing.

Andhra CM’s chopper still missing, anxiety grows

HYDERABAD: Anxiety in government and Congress circles is growing even as seven helicopters, including four from the Indian Air Force, are on

desperate search and rescue mission for the helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, which has been missing since 9.27am on Wednesday. ( Watch Video )

The CM left Hyderabad on a six-seater Bell chopper at 8.35am for Chittoor accompanied by his secretary and chief security officer. After 9.27am, radio contact was lost with the helicopter. This was when the chopper entered the thickly forested, Naxalite-infested Nallamalla hill range.

The heavy rain and zero visibility in the Nalamlla forest, an extension of Eastern Ghats, is making the search operations difficult, officials said. Large parts of the forest are also flooded because of the overflowing Srisailam reservoir. Officials also said that the met department’s predictions for the day included heavy rain and lightning.

Andhra Pradesh finance minister A Rosaiah said at a press conference that no contact has been established with the chief minister’s chopper. Search and rescue operations are still on, he said. The state is coordinating with central agencies in Delhi to locate the CM’s chopper. The PM’s office is also in touch with the state government. Several helicopters have left for search operations, he added.

The state government has appealed to people for help and asked them to get in touch with the nearest police station if they have any information. Sources in the Congress, the chief minister’s party, described the situation as grim.

Reports say state finance minister A Rosaiah will be holding another press conference with the Chief Secretary, AP government and the Director General of Police at 7pm on Wednesday.

Earlier today, confusion prevailed over the missing chopper as minister for civil aviation Praful Patel said Reddy’s helicopter had been located.