Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is no more. The Bell-430 helicopter, in which he left the Begumpet airport on Wednesday, has crash-landed on a hillock, 70-km east of Kurnool in the forests of Nallamala, sources told TNN.
The body of the Chief Minister along with his two pilots and two others was found near the debris of the copter on Thursday morning. The copter’s broken parts have been found strewn across all around.
According to Congress Party sources here, the chances of survival of any of the victims is remote. However, an official confirmation into the tragedy is awaited.Two of the Air Force helicopters which were trying to land on the hillock, in the thick jungles of Nalamalla area, discovered the remains of the helicopter. The discovery follows an elaborate search and rescue operations launched by the state and the central governmental agencies.
Over 2,000 members of the security forces, supported by 11 helicopters and airplanes, took part in the search operations. Heavy downpour reduced many areas to mud, making the search operations difficult.The Bell helicopter carrying Mr Reddy and four others was on a two-hour flight from Hyderabad's Begumpet airport. It took off at 8.35 a.m. on Wednesday for Anupally village in Chittoor district. The chopper went missing over Kurnool district an hour before it was due to land. The Nallamalla forest area where it vanished is said to be a Maoist stronghold.However, state government officials have ruled out the possibility that insurgents might have shot down the copter.
Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as Ysr, was born on July 8, 1949 at Pulivendula in Kadapa district of Rayalaseema region into an illustrious family of politicians. Having passed the MBBS degree, he took up medical profession at Jammulamadugu Mission Hospital for a brief period. Ysr also set up a 70-bedded hospital after his father at Pulivendula.
He entered politics in 1978 and was elected to the State Assembly four times and an equal number of times into the lower House of Parliament. He was the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee twice between 1980 and 1983. He also held ministerial portfolios of Rural Development, Medical, Health and Education.
He became the chief minister of the State on May 14, 2004 after deposing incumbent N.Chandrababu Naidu with a landslide majority. The chief minister also bounced back to power a second time in succession in the general elections to the Assembly in May 2009.