Sad, very sad!

We hope they find the helicopter and the Andhra Pradesh CM, Yeduguri Samuel Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) and his co-passengers. Any accident is unfortunate and the outcome in this case does not seem to be favorable. Our sympathy is with the family. One can also imagine the anxiety and distress for his vast followers and well wishers.

The governemt has been all out in the search effort. Ground search teams, police, 5000 CRPF, 500 army commandos, NSA, ISRO,  IAF, Sokhoi, helicopters, pilotless aircraft, night vision technology, thermal imaging technology, request to US for further advanced tools – everything that is humanely possible by the government, have been done.  MLAs, MPs, Ministers,  Congress chief, Home Minister, Prime Minister, President of India (from Moscow) – all are concerned. It is heartening to see that no stone is left unturned to find the cursed chopper and its occupants. And one has to acknowledge that all these have been done within barely a few hours.

Perhaps this is the first time in India, that a search mission of this massive proportion is being conducted for a person. This is something that we read in fictions or watch on movies of western origin. Certainly India has come a long way off from the recent ’26/11 Mumbai carnage’ in terms of disaster preparedness and management. 

One can hope that such level of preparedness and performance, henceforth, would be extended to other catastrophic situations, that involves similar ‘important’ persons, irrespective of political or religious background and at least part of such responsiveness would then be expected to also trickle down to benefit the life of a common Indian, in distress.

Otherwise, who knows, “faultfinders” may raise the issue that such ‘VIP treatment  was only given in this case to YSR, since he happens to be a Christian Chief Minister of the Roman Catholic lead  Congress party, had a soul that was blessed by the Pope Benedict XVI, himself and played a leading role in evangelical activities in the state of Andhra Pradesh, including facilitation for Christians pilgrimmage.

Why, one may even imagine a divine intervention in his final fate.


Search Mission AP CM and the chopper

September 3rd, 2009 – 2:38 am ICT

Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy remained uncertain tonight after a helicopter carrying him went missing over a dense forest area since Wednesday morning, prompting a continuing massive search operation.

Bell helicopter, which took off from old Begumpet airport at 8.35 AM and lost radio contact at 9.35 AM, was heading for Chitoor district, over 600 kilometres from Hyderabad in the Southwestern end of the state, where he was to attend some functions.

The helicopter was crossing the Nallamalai forests towards Ongole in Prakasam district and the pilot may have encountered high-speed winds and inclement weather, the Chief Secretary said.

ISRO satellite has taken 41 images of the forest area where the helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is believed to have crashed landed, says state chief secretary P Ramakant Reddy says.

Air Force pressed its topline Sukhoi 30 MKI into a night search and flew in Dornier and Avro reconnaissance aircraft. IAF’s Sukhoi 30MK1 aircraft with synthetic aperture radar for high resolution ground mapping even at night and a pilotless low-flying ISRO aircraft were scouring the thick Nallamalai forests in Kurnool district in the Rayalaseema region the Low-flying aircraft to pick metal signals.

Throughout Wednessday as many as seven helicopters searched the area but met with no success. In the evening, five thousand CRPF from the nearby Chhattisgarh and Orissa to conduct the search and other police personnel were deployed for a night-long ground search.

In exploring CM’s chopper Andhra Pradesh government has sought Centre’s help to get US Defence Department help in securing real-time imagery as Indian efforts in this regard were poor due to heavy cloud formation. Low flying Air craft of National Remote Sensing Agency has taken 41 imagery photographs of Nallamala forest area where the search operations are underway to locate the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. The ISRO is currently processing the photographs in Hyderabad. The photographs which may carry some clues are expected by this midnight.

Air Commander B.S. Bharti of Yelahanka Air base has been designated commander of rescue and search operations. He will be operating from Kurnool from early tomorrow.Search on foot by Forest and Revenue officials is on around the point where the helicopter of the Andhra Pradesh Minister Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy was last seen. His helicopter went missing on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, a number of Ministers, MPs and MLAs and Congress Party activists of the nearby districts are reaching Nallamal forest area to render assistance in the search operations.

The Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Chidamabram and leader of the opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly have expressed concern over the safety of the Chief Minister, Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy.

Meanwhile, the US has offered all help in locating Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S R Reddy whose helicopter went missing in the state Wednesday morning.

The Embassy spokesman said the US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer was in touch with Home Minister P Chidambaram through the day and offered all help in this development.The spokesman said his heart goes out to all those involved in the development.