|The worst fears have unfortunately come true. Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is said to have been killed in a crash on a hill in the dense Nallamalla forests, some 40 nautical miles (70 kms) east of Kurnool town.|
It may be recalled that the chopper carrying the AP chief minister, his Principal Secretary P Subramanyam, ASC John Wesley and two pilots went off the radar screens since early morning on Wednesday. The helicopter went missing over the Naxal and tiger-infested Nalamalla forests amid bad weather and incessant rains.
The AP chief minister left Hyderabad on a six-seater Bell 430 chopper at 8:35 am on Wednesday for Chittoor district. After 9:27 am, radio with the chopper was lost. The helicopter was found in a burnt and mangled state and survivors are unlikely. The bodies of all the five people on board the ill-fated helicopter have been found today.
"As of now, we have located the helicopter. We are not sure whether it has crashed or not. Our helicopters are there. We are trying to locate whether there are any survivors," Air Commodore Sagar Bharati of the Bangalore Air Command told reporters.
K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, Rajya Sabha member and a close aide of the AP chief minister, also confirmed that the chopper has been found. Union Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai said in New Delhi that it seems the helicopter crash landed but there is no confirmation yet.
YSR, as he was popularly known, was an influential political leader who propelled the Congress party-led coalition to victory in the assembly cum general elections in May this year.