South Asia

Dorjee Khandu body recovered from helicopter crash site

Dorjee Khandu
Image caption More than 10,000 people had been involved in the hunt for Mr Khandu

The body of the chief minister of India's Arunachal Pradesh state has been recovered from the wreckage of a helicopter, officials say.

The helicopter carrying Dorjee Khandu and four others went missing on Saturday as it was flying to Tawang from the state capital, Itanagar.

The wreckage was spotted by search teams on Wednesday after a massive five day-long search.

He is one of several Indian politicians to die in helicopter crashes.

The wreckage of the helicopter carrying Mr Khandu was spotted near the Luguthang area of the north-eastern state, 4,900m above sea level.

A federal minister told reporters late on Wednesday that Mr Khandu and the four others on the helicopter were dead, and that the chief minister's body had been identified by local villagers.

The other passengers on the helicopter were Mr Khandu's security officer Yeshi Choddak and a relative of a state lawmaker, Yeshi Lamu, and two crew members JS Babbar and KS Malick.

India launched one of its biggest search operations to hunt for the missing helicopter, which was owned by the state-run Pawan Hans company.

More than 10,000 people - including 3,000 security forces from India and neighbouring Bhutan - fighter jets and army helicopters were engaged in the five-day search in a mountainous, snow-clad region.

In 2009, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state YS Rajasekhara Reddy was killed along with four others in a helicopter crash in southern India.

And in 1997, junior federal minister NVN Somu and two senior army officers were killed when an air force helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Arunachal Pradesh.

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