Search fails to find missing chopper, three officers

Search fails to find missing chopper, three officers

Military and police officers and district officials are joined by village volunteers to look for an air force helicopter missing since Saturday between Chanthaburi and Rayong provinces.
Military and police officers and district officials are joined by village volunteers to look for an air force helicopter missing since Saturday between Chanthaburi and Rayong provinces.

CHANTHABURI — A full day's search on Sunday failed to find any sign of a missing air force helicopter with three officers on board after it vanished over a vast expanse of dense forest on Saturday.

Media reports said an aerial search was called off after helicopters, drones and paramotors had scoured the area until 4pm even though bad weather and occasional rain had impeded operations throughout the day. 

A ground search team that included 300 soldiers, police, forestry officials and civilians halted work later in the evening. They will stay over in the forest and continue their third day of search and rescue at 6am Monday. 

Pol Maj Gen Jaran Jitjuajoon, commander of the Chanthaburi police force, said authorities had talked to villagers who had spotted the helicopter before it disappeared from the radar to try to locate the crash site.

Helicopters will continue to be used in Monday's search if the weather was good, Pol Maj Gen Jaran added.  

The UH-1 helicopter transported telecommunications equipment and food supplies from Don Mueang to a radar station in the adjoining area of Khao Chamao and Khao Wongkot in Khaeng Hang Maew district of Chanthaburi and disappeared from the radar at 2pm on Saturday after taking off from the radar station.

On board the missing helicopter were Squadron Leader Pasith Techasen, the pilot, Captain Alongkorn Chankrachang, the co-pilot, and Sgt-Maj Visut Puttharaksa, the mechanic. 

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