KUCHING: Six individuals including a deputy minister are believed to be on a helicopter which has gone missing in Sarawak.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon (pix) along with her husband Asmuni Abdullah were on the helicopter.
The four other individuals were the ministry's secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai, Kuala Kangsar MP and Malaysian Palm Oil Board member Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad and personal bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun, as well as the pilot of the flight RP-C 6828 Captain Rudolf Rex Ragas.
According to reports, air traffic controllers lost contact with the helicopter at 5pm on Thursday while it was near Sebuyau.
It is believed to have been travelling from Betong to Kuching.
Department of Civil Aviation Director Datuk Azharudin Abdul Rahman has confirmed the reports, saying that a search and rescue operation has been launched.
Noriah is also Sungai Besar MP.
When contacted, Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said he last saw Noriah at 12.30pm at his constituency in Bukit Saban.
He, however, has no details of the missing helicopter.