'Probing earlier crashes may have saved YSR'

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 04, 2009 07:00 hrs

While mourning the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash, the brother of an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer who had died in an air crash said here Friday that probing such crashes may have saved YSR.

'After the crash of the chief minister's chopper many raised their eyebrows about the safety standard of choppers. In our country when political leaders die in any air crash, the authorities start proper investigation. But in my brother's case nobody cared,' Ballava Kumar Sahu said.

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On Dec 24, 1996, Ballava's brother Sanatan Sahu was among the 22 people travelling to Hyderabad from Chennai in an Avro plane of the IAF when it crashed into a hill in the same Nallamalla forest of Andhra Pradesh where the chopper carrying YSR crashed Wednesday. All those on board were killed.

'We had demanded a probe on the safety standard of the plane after crash at that time but it yielded no results. If the government had given importance to that mishap and had taken proper care, this latest mishap could have been avoided,' Ballava said.

'I was watching the new channels since Wednesday to know details about the crash. This unfortunate chopper crash brought back the memory of my brother,' said Ballava, who owns a medicine shop.

Ballava, 54, is a resident of Kakat village near Kendrapada town, 93 km from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar.

'Sanatan was a brilliant student,' Ballava remembered. 'After passing from Sainik School in Bhubaneswar, he was selected to join the National Defence Academy (NDA). After passing from NDA, he joined Indian Air Force and became squadron leader.'

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister and four others were killed when the helicopter carrying them exploded after hitting a hillside.

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