Had the Bell-430 helicopter turned west instead of east while deviating from its flight path, there are good chances that Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, his companions and the crew could have survived the crash.

Unanimous opinion

This is the unanimous opinion of authorities studying Wednesday's crash. In the event of the chopper turning west, it would have flown over plain land and paddy fields, where landing in adverse conditions would not have posed a threat to lives, officials say.

With the recovery of the Cockpit Voice Recorder on Friday, authorities have begun to piece together information to try and understand the cause behind the crash.

Signals picked up

It has now been confirmed that the helicopter was flying at an altitude of 1,000-1,200 ft, as the mobile phone tower picked up signals from the mobile phone of a passenger in the copter between 9.20 and 9.26 a.m.

Flying low

That it was flying low, and off the flight path indicated the possibility of the pilots trying to look for a place to land due to adverse weather conditions, but unwittingly turning east where the hill range began.

Lending credence to this argument is the fact that the helicopter crashed into a hillock (Pavurala Gutta) at an estimated height of about 450-500 metres.

The decimal degree coordinates - latitude 15.787222, longitude 78.714722 - of the crash site indicate the same on a contour map.

Search for landing spot

Officers surmise that the pilots must have flown low, having been caught in torrential rain and thick cloud formations. Perhaps, the pilots were trying to look out for a place to land when they crashed into the hill.