A government official and a relative of Khandu have reportedly identified his body. The four other people on board with him – including two pilots, his security officer and a female politician – have also died. “I am afraid the news is sad and grim,” said Home Minister P Chidambaram said in New Delhi.
Chidambaram said that villagers in the area had communicated to a control room in Itanagar that three of the five dead bodies found were charred beyond recognition. In addition to Mr Khandu, villagers were able to identify Yeshi Lhamu, the sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.
The Home Minister said that a Cheetah helicopter, which flew over the site, had also spotted the crashed helicopter and some bodies. A team from the nearest Army post at Kyela is trekking to the site of the tragedy.
Those on board with Mr Khandu were: Captain J S Babbar, Captain T S Mamik, the Chief Minister’s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lhamu, the sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup.
After four days of intense search for the Chief Minister’s missing chopper, rescuers located the crashed chopper and recovered all five bodies including that of the Chief Minister this morning. The bodies have now been identified and being brought to Itanagar. According to official sources a local search party discovered the wreckage along with the decomposed bodies in a high altitude area between Kyela and Lugutang near Tawang. The Pawan Hans chopper had went missing after take-off from Tawang on Saturday morning. Besides Khandu, others on board were pilots Captain J S Babbar, Captain T S Mamik, Khandus security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lhamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup. Meanwhile, Minister for Development of North East (DONER) B K Handique said in Itanagar today that the matter of appointing a caretaker Chief Minister for Arunachal Pradesh is being looked into by the Congress Party High Command.
Government has condoled the tragic and untimely demise of Arunanchal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a chopper crash. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Khandu’s family.
“I am deeply pained to receive the confirmation of the tragic and untimely demise of a great son of India and the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu,” Mr Krishna said in a statement.
“He was dedicated to the cause of improving the quality of lives of the people of Arunachal Pradesh. In his death, the state and country have lost a visionary administrator and an excellent human being,” he added.