The Pawan Hans helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others, which went missing on Saturday, remained untraceable for the third consecutive day on Monday even as an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) radar's detection of a bright spot, possibly of a metallic substance, in high-altitude forests of Nagar GG area near Sela Pass in Tawang district raised faint hopes on Monday of locating it. However, adverse weather conditions impeded aerial search and rescue mission.
Union Minister V. Narayanswamy, who is camping in Itanagar to monitor the operations, told journalists that a clear picture would emerge only after the ground search team reaches Nagarjiji area on Tuesday. The search team was expected to reach the targeted location around 2.30 p.m. as there was no direct access and the search team would have to scale rugged inhospitable altitudes.
Radio contact with the helicopter was lost after it passed over Sela Pass located at an altitude of 13700 feet on Saturday morning.
Based on mapping done by Sukhois and ISRO data analyses, the authorities have narrowed down the search and rescue missions to three specific areas of Eagle Nest Sanctuary, Nagarjii and Mobi Village along the India-Bhutan border.
Indian Air Force spokesman at the Eastern Air Command headquarters in Shillong Ranjeeb Sahoo told The Hindu that two Mi-17 helicopters, which were airborne from Tawang, conducted two sorties, but the search operations had to be called off for the day due to inclement weather. The aerial search operations would resume with two choppers from Tawang and two from Tezpur base at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.