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Missing Indian helicopter located, survivors unlikely

RIA Novosti

10:16 03/09/2009 NEW DELHI, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - A helicopter carrying a senior Indian politician whose disappearance sparked the country's biggest ever search was found on Thursday near Hyderabad, a day after it went missing, the Hindustan Times reported.

There was no news of the fate of anyone on board the aircraft, including Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, chief minister of southern India's Andhra Pradesh state. The search involved hundreds of police officers, army commandos, hunters and locals, as well as helicopters, a Su-30MKI fighter and a drone.

"As of now we have located the helicopter. It is on top of a hill at a distance of 40 nautical miles (74 km) east of Kurnool... We are trying to locate whether there are any survivors," the online edition quoted Air Commodore Sagar Bharti of the Bangalore air command as saying.

He said it was hard to reach the forested spot in the mountains, where misty weather was hampering rescue efforts.

The Andhra government and Home Ministry sources said earlier the helicopter had crash landed, with survivors unlikely.

Reddy, 60, was bound for Chittoor, in the southern part of the state to attend a social contact program. There were also two of his staff and two pilots on board the chopper, The Times of India said.

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