The ministry of external affairs confirmed the report on Wednesday. The 56-year-old Dorjee Khanu had gone missing on Saturday at 10:30 after his Pawan Hans helicopter went missing 30 minutes after the take off from Tawang. He was going to Itanagar along with his two aides. His body will be brought by the Army helicopter.
Along with the CM, crew members Captain J S Babbar and Captain K S Malick, Khandu’s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang legislator Tsewang Dhondup were on the board.
The crash site was located between Kyela and Lugudhang near Sela Paas in Tawang. The wreckage of the chopper was found at a height of 4,900 feet. It is believed that the chopper crashed due to bad weather.
Earlier, it was reported that Khandu’s chopper made an emergency landing in Bhutan. However, that report turned out to be false. The ISRO satellites, Sukhoi-30 aircrafts, IAF aircrafts and MI-17 helicopters were pressed into service.
The army and other rescue teams had a tough time to locate the chopper because of inclement weather and bad light.
Dorjee Khandu was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. He was sworn-in as the fifth Chief Minister of Arunchal Pradesh for the first time on April 9, 2007. He was again sworn-in as the chief minister on 25 October 2009.
He had served in the intelligence wing of the Indian Army prior to joining the Congress Party. He also did social work.
Khandu had received a gold medal for the meritorious intelligence services rendered during the Bangladesh War in 1971. He joined politics in 1980. Khandu held the record of getting elected unopposed from the Mukto constituency thrice.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, President Dr. Pratibha Patil, Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and many other eminent leaders have condoled the sudden demise of Dorjee Khandu.