GUWAHATI: An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter, deployed for lifting stranded passengers in Arunachal Pradesh, was reported missing, while bad weather forced a chopper of the Border Security Force (BSF) carrying Union minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju, to make an emergency landing at a playground in the state on Tuesday.
Official sources said the IAF helicopter, with three crew members on board, was deployed for lifting stranded passengers, who were hit by road blockage, between Sagalee and Arunachal capital Itanagar.
The helicopter had taken off from Pilputu helipad near Sagalee at 3:48 pm. In a radio message, the authorities directed officials concerned to alert all sources of agencies for probable emergency landing at nearby areas. The state’s chief minister, Pema Khandu, directed district authorities and the police to go for extensive search operations. He requested the villagers to help the police and the administration in the search operations. It was learnt that the helicopter had lost contact with the ground staff within minutes after take-off.
Rijiju tweeted: “Weather is turbulent in North-East. I am safe but whole state machinery is geared up to locate IAF ALH chopper missing almost the same time”. The BSF chopper, carrying Rijiju, had to make an emergency landing at a polytechnic playground in Itanagar.
“The chopper, flying from Guwahati, was scheduled to land at the helipad at Raj Bhawan in Itanagar. But due to heavy rain and poor visibility, it had to make an emergency landing at the polytechnic playground downhill,” official sources told the New Indian Express. Later, the minister took a vehicle and left. Soon after, the helicopter flew out and landed at the Raj Bhavan helipad, sources added.