Indian state minister confirmed killed in helicopter crash
Officials confirmed Wednesday that the chief minister of India's north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh has died in a helicopter crash, DPA reported.
A search team found the wreckage of the aircraft in the mountainous state on Wednesday, four days after it lost contact with air-traffic control.
The helicopter was carrying Dorjee Khandu, a politician from the ruling Congress party, from Tawang town near the Chinese border to state capital Itanagar early Saturday.
The team of local villagers found the debris and bodies of Khandu, the two pilots, a security officer and a local in the remote Luguthang region near Tawang.
"Due to the rugged and inaccessible terrain, an Indian Air Force helicopter has been despatched to the crash site to retrieve the bodies," state government spokesman Jarbom Gamlin told reporters.
Thousands of troops and villagers, as well as several military aircraft, had been deployed in the search since Saturday.
Fifty-six-year old Khandu, a popular regional politician, had been chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh since April 2007.
It was the third helicopter crash in India's hilly, forested north-eastern region in the last two weeks.
On April 19, a helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, killing all 17 on board. Three days later, four army personnel died after their helicopter crashed in the neighbouring state of Sikkim.