A top Indian politician and four other people were killed when their helicopter crashed in the jungles of southern India, it was reported today.
The Press Trust of India said officials from the ruling Congress Party confirmed that Andhra Pradesh state’s chief minister YSR Reddy had died in the crash.
The helicopter carrying Mr Reddy, 60, lost contact with air traffic controllers yesterday morning as heavy rains pelted the region, setting off a frantic 24-hour search operation involving the army, air force and police in an area infested with Maoist rebels.
Today commandos and police finally reached the site of the crash after hacking through the jungle and found the bodies of all five people who had been on the aircraft, Press Trust of India said, quoting officials from the ruling Congress Party.
Rescue teams crossing dense jungle and hilly terrain on foot reached the site, five miles from the nearest village, Rudrakodur.
There was no immediate indication that the helicopter was shot down.
Mr Reddy, who belongs to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ruling Congress Party, was inspecting rural social welfare programmes, accompanied by a bodyguard, two officials and a photographer.
He had won a second term in office in elections held this year.