Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rescue teams comb Naxal areas in search of YSR

India's biggest search and rescue operation to locate Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy in the dense Nallamalla forests and hills stretching across Kurnool, Prakasam and Kadapa districts resumed at the crack of dawn on Thursday.

Helicopter search operations had been called off in the night because of poor visibility and bad weather conditions. But state police and 5,000 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) conducted search operations on foot throughout the night with help of forest officials.

Andhra's Greyhound commandos, raised to fight Naxals, are also helping in the search operation along with specialised anti-terrorist force Organisation for Counter Terrorism and Operations (Octopus) teams.

The newly-formed anti-Naxal force Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra), which are under the command of the CRPF have also been deployed for the search operations.

An Army column from Bangalore has also been also called in to assist in the search and rescue operations.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also sent three helicopters from Bangalore for the search operation while one private helicopter from Nellore is also scouring the area for any signs of the missing Chief Minister and his entourage.

IAF will also press into service Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft with synthetic aperture radar for high resolution ground mapping in and around Kurnool.\

Satellite imagery is also being used to trace the missing helicopter. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also provided special low flying aircraft and remote sensing equipment and satellite imagery to aide the search operation.

Search and rescue teams are also looking at the possibility of Reddy's helicopter landing at Sri Sailam Dam which is situated 98 km from Markapuram. The dam is across the Krishna River at Srisailam in the Kurnool district.

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