The helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh state Chief Minister Y.S.R. Reddy lost contact with air traffic controllers Wednesday morning, setting off a frantic 24-hour search operation involving the army, air force and police in an area packed with Maoist rebels.
On Thursday morning, they finally reached the crash site after hacking through hilly jungle. They found the mangled remains of the chopper and charred bodies of all five people who on board, including 60-year-old Reddy.
He was accompanied by a bodyguard, an aide and two pilots.
The bodies were flown to the state capital Hyderabad and a state funeral was planned for Friday, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.
Officials have yet to establish the cause, but say the privately owned chopper likely crashed because of bad weather. It lost contact with air traffic controllers about 45 minutes into the flight after taking off from Hyderabad.
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