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DGCA team gathers vital clues

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TOUGH JOB: R.K. Tyagi, leader of DGCA probe panel, on his way to crash site on Thursday.
TOUGH JOB: R.K. Tyagi, leader of DGCA probe panel, on his way to crash site on Thursday.

D. Sreenivasulu

Second visit to site likely next week; more details required, says team leader

ATMAKUR (KURNOOL district): Vital clues that can throw some light on the cause of the helicopter crash that killed former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and four others, have been gathered from the site by an investigation team of the Director General of Civil Aviation on Thursday.

Led by R.K. Tyagi, the DGCA team spent several hours on the hillock meticulously examining every piece of debris. It mapped the entire crash site, the path across which the debris was scattered, location of the five bodies, the place where the engine rested and the trees which were first impacted by the helicopter.

Mr. Tyagi told reporters, who accompanied the team, that some more details were required before the team could arrive at a conclusion. This would be done in around two weeks. The investigation team was likely to make a second visit after a week.

The helicopter first hit a tall tree on its top cutting its crown. Later, the whirring blades twisted two tall, strong trees from where the mauled chopper ploughed to a distance of 80 to 100 metres from the west to the east. According to flight experts, the left side of the helicopter (where the Chief Minister was seated) took most of the impact resulting in throwing up much of the debris towards the right.

After hitting the ground, the engine caught fire and a circular area around the wreckage showed charring though a major fire was not ignited. The fire could not spread further due to rain and wet conditions. The total crash site measures 100 metres long and 25 metres wide.

The helicopter was so badly damaged after the crash that all its major components were broken into small pieces while the fuel and flight instrument panel and other parts melted. The rotor, blades and its mast were detached from the hub and crushed into pieces.

A motorable path has been laid close to the Chintamanu Tippa on which the copter crashed.

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