June 23, 2024

FLYING TROUBLE: IAF chopper goes missing, close shave for Rijiju

TAP | Updated: July 4, 2017

ITANAGAR, Jul 04: An Indian Air Force chopper on flood rescue mission reportedly went missing in Arunachal Pradesh while another with Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju on board had to make an emergency landing on Tuesday.

Tezpur-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Sombit Ghosh said the advanced light helicopter engaged in rescue mission lost contact immediately after takeoff near Sagalee in Papum Pare district about 3:50 pm.

Three crew members were on board the chopper that was supposed to return to Jorhat in central Assam.

“The chopper was evacuating people who were stranded due to landslides triggered by monsoon rain,” Ghosh said.

Meanwhile, sources at the CMO here informed that Chief Minister Pema Khandu is constantly monitoring the situation and directives have been issue to the administration and police to extend all possible help in the search and rescue operation.

The villagers were also requested to help the administration in the rescue operation, the sources added.

Almost simultaneously, a chopper carrying Rijiju and seven others made an emergency landing on the field of Rajiv Gandhi Polytechnic here due to poor visibility.

The Mi-17 helicopter had arrived from Guwahati and was scheduled to land at the Raj Bhawan helipad but had to be diverted because of heavy rain and fog.

The pilots of the chopper, belonging to the Border Security Force, managed to manoeuvre for about 10 minutes before making the emergency landing.

“The chopper had to land as the visibility was low due to continuous downpour. The situation is absolutely normal,” Komjum Riba, additional private secretary to Rijiju, said.

He added that the minister is scheduled to visit Ziro in Lower Subansiri district to attend the Dree festival of the Apatani community on Wednesay and on July 6 he would attend the election campaign of NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind here.

"I was lucky enough to be landed safely, thanks to the BSF pilots who are very experienced," Rijiju informed.

Rijiju said the Capital SP came to the spot after hearing about the development. Local residents too came forward to help Rijiju and others. PTI