YSR Dead in Air Crash

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, who has been missing with his plane since Wednesday morning, has died in air crash, declared Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

Scores of supporters thronged Reddy’s residence as his mortal remains reached Hyderabad from Kurnool.

The government confirmed the death nearly 24 hours after the YSR’s chopper went missing, it was located atop Serai Salem hill, at a distance 40 nautical miles (70 kms) east of Karnool.

The helicopter was carrying, besides YSR Reddy, two of his staff and two pilots. All five bodies were found at the site where chopper’s wreckage was traced.

Rosaiah told reporters in Hyderabad that an autopsy will be conducted on all the five bodies that were found in the Nallamalla forests in Kurnool district.

“All the five bodies were charred beyond recognition,” Rosaiah said. He added that there was a possibility that “there was a fire” after the crash.

The CM left Hyderabad on a six-seater Bell chopper at 8.35am for Chittoor accompanied by his secretary and chief security officer. After 9.27am, radio contact was lost with the helicopter.

Soon after the chopper lost contact, multiple agencies of the state launched a massive hunt for possible wreckage in the desolate terrain. By evening, it expanded into the country’s biggest-ever search operation with satellites in the sky joining remote sensing aircraft, fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, troops on the ground and even barefoot deer-hunting tribals with bows and arrows.

After being brought to Hyderabad, YSR’s body will be taken to the chief minister’s camp office in Begumpet. The bodies of the other four people would be taken to their respective native places.

The chief minster’s body will be kept at the Lal Bahadur stadium in Hyderabad from 10 am Friday to enable people to pay their last respects.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and several union ministers are expected to arrive here tomorrow.

On Friday, at 1 pm, YSR’s body will be taken to Pulivendula, his native town in Kadapa district, where he will be cremated with state honours.

A cabinet meeting will take place at 2 pm on Thursday where a condolence resolution will be passed, Rosaiah said.

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