Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (60) and four others were killed in helicopter that crashed in the Nalamalla hills, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.
The bodies of Reddy and his Special Secretary P Subramanyam, chief security officer A S C Wesley, pilot Group Captain S K Bhatia and co-pilot M S Reddy were recovered by army commandos on Rudrakonda Hill, 40 nautical miles east of here, besides the mangled remains of the helicopter.
Andhra Pradesh finance minister K Rosaiah has been appointed caretaker CM.
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.
The helicopter carrying YSR Reddy, two of his staff and two pilots went missing in pouring rain Wednesday morning over the Naxal and tiger-infested Nalamalla forests.
Nearly 24 hours after YSR’s chopper went missing, it was located atop Serai Salem hill, at a distance 40 nautical miles (70 kms) east of Kurnool.
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 aircrafts, fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, troops on the ground and even barefoot deer-hunting tribals with bows and arrows.