Arunachal has witnessed several air crashes

Itanagar, May 1: Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed a large number of air crashes, which include the one on April 19 in which 17 people were killed at Tawang.

Among the 17 killed were two children and three crew members.

The Pawan Hans helicopter, which was on a regular flight, had taken off from Guwahati in the afternoon and crashed just outside the Tawang helipad, located at an altitude of about 11,000 feet.

On Nov 19 last year, 11 IAF personnel and an army lieutenant colonel were killed when an Air Force Mi-17 helicopter crashed near the China frontier a minute after take-off

In June 2009, an IAF AN-32 aircraft crashed at Mechuka killing all 13 on board.

Union minister of state for defence N.V.N. Somu, Major General Ramesh Nagpal and two others died when their Cheetah helicopter hit a 1,300 ft peak 40 km from Tawang on November 1997.

In May 2001, Arunachal Pradesh education minister Dera Natung and five others were killed when their Pawan Hans chopper crashed on a wooded hillock.

A Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter carrying 56-year-old Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu lost communication with the ground after it took off from Tawang at 9.50 a.m. Saturday when it flew past the Sela Pass along the Chinese border.

Apart from Khandu, the others on board included crew members Captain J.S. Babbar and Captain K.S. Malick, Khandu’s security officer Yeshi Choddak and Yeshi Lamu, sister of Tawang legislator Tsewang Dhondup.

A search is on to locate the missing copter.