Bhutan allows Indian sorties to trace Khandu

Last Updated: Sun, May 01, 2011 16:03 hrs

Itanagar: The permission of Bhutanese authorities has been obtained for air sorties for search and rescue operations in their territory to trace the missing helicopter of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu with five others on board, an official statement said here on Sunday.

Search teams from Bhutan have also launched rescue operation in seven districts of the Himalayan kingdom, government spokesman Jarbom Gamlin said in the statement.

Cooperation of the neighbouring districts of Bhutan has been obtained through district administration and public to public contacts, it said.

It said official information of the whereabouts of Khandu and the others on board the missing Pawan Hans helicopter was still unknown.

The Army, SSB, ITBP along with police launched a massive joint operation since dawn, while the Eastern Air Command operational control room informed that an Air force chopper had taken off from Tawang on a search mission which did two sorties, but could not get any clue, the statement said.

Choppers stationed at Guwahati and Tezpur could not take off due to inclement weather and rainfall in the area, it said.

A Pawan Hans helicopter took off from Naharlagun helipad at about 07:30 am along with a medical team and state police officials on a search mission.

Two Cheetah helicopters tried to search the areas around Sella Pass, but came back in the evening without any success, it said.

He said that the National Disaster Response Force, Delhi was contacted and requested to provide suitable directions to the NDRF battalion at Guwahati to help the police in its search and rescue operation in West Kameng district.

Accordingly a team of NDRF comprising 38 personnel with search and rescue equipment proceeded to Bomdila by road at 1000 hrs on Sunday for assisting the police in search and rescue operations.

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