Following is a brief timeline of the helicopter carrying the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy that went missing on Wednesday.
08:35 AM: A Twin-engine Bell 430 Andhra Pradesh Government helicopter carrying the Chief Minister takes off from the old Begumpet airport.
The helicopter, also carrying Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary S Subramanyam and Chief Security Officer A. S. C. Wesley, heads for Chitoor district.
09:35 AM: The helicopter, flown by two pilots, loses contact while possibly flying over Nallamala forest ranges, a stronghold of the naxalites, in the Rayalaseema region.
The Prime Minister’s Office, the Union Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry are alerted. The Office of the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, is in touch with the State government.
Four helicopters, including three belonging to the Indian Air Force launch search operations, but no contact established because of strong winds and inclement weather.
Two helicopters from the Hakimpet air command in Secunderabad return because of inclement weather, while three from the Bangalore air command and one private helicopter from Nellore were involved in search operations.
An unmanned aerial vehicle from the Defence Ministry also pressed into service.
04:00 PM: The Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister, K. Rosaiah, at a press conference says there is no word on the Chief Minister.
Time for carrying out search operations running out as sunset approaches.
Home Minister P Chidambaram monitoring the situation from New Delhi.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expresses concern over the disappearance of the helicopter and monitors the developments.
06.40 PM: Helicopter search stopped for the time being because of light and weather conditions: Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram
“There is no good news yet. We are keeping our fingers crossed” - Mr. Chidambaram
06.52: IAF presses into service Su-30MKI fighter aircraft with synthetic aperture radar for high resolution ground mapping in and around Kurnool to locate the missing helicopter