The focus of the search operations, for the helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, has been shifted to forest areas and waterbodies on Wednesday evening, in cooperation with the Forest department. The forest officials carried out preliminary searches to a distance of 10 km inside the Nallamala forest. To intensify the efforts, they have engaged Chenchu tribe trackers from different spots simultaneously. They requisitioned two boats from Srisailam. The Forest Beat Officers and Chenchus will continue the search in the night in Nallamala for the chopper.
The District Collector Mr. M. K. Meena, said the epicentre of the search operations would be 30-40 km in the Atmakur, Dornala and Gundla Brahmeswaram up to Velugodu. He told TheHindu that the search operations did not find any traces of the chopper landing in the forest area till evening.
Two helicopters which made several sorties in the Nallamala forest area suspended the operations at 6 p.m. They would resume the search on Thursday. The Nallamala terrain, is inhospitable and the depth could be at least 100 metres at some places in the valley. It takes several hours and days to move from one hill to another.
Till two years ago, naxalites of the People's War were active in the forest but now are confined to a few pockets. Personnel involved in the search operations in the forest also have to encounter tigers and sloth bears.