Fresh tragedy as chopper with 20 on rescue mission crashes

IAF, NDRF, ITBP personnel along with civilians on board, 8 bodies recovered; 8,000 pilgrims still stranded in several areas; operations to continue despite poor weather; 535 airlifted on Tuesday

Published: 26th June 2013 08:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2013 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

Rescue-Mission

An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter involved in rescue operations in Uttarakhand and carrying 20 people on board, including IAF, paramilitary personnel and rescued civilians, crashed on Tuesday.

Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) M Sashidhar Reddy said eight bodies have been recovered and chances of any survivor among those onboard were remote. “There were 20 people onboard, including NDRF, ITBP and IAF personnel. Eight bodies have been recovered,” he said. In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the Mi-17 V5 chopper was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath and while returning from Kedarnath it crashed north of Gaurikund.

“While a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident, the IAF’s rescue operations continue,” the MoD  statement said. State officials said it’s not known if weather was a factor in the crash. “Three choppers have been sent to Gaurikund to locate the wreckage of the crashed copter,” they said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the accident during relief operations had come as a huge shock. “My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost their lives. The nation mour­ns with me the loss of our heroes whose selfless work has saved thousands of lives. Continuing their work would be the best homage to them,” the PM said.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government pledged assistance to the stranded pilgrims, promising to evacuate all who were stranded, within 72 hours, after fresh rainfall hampered search and rescue efforts at the site of Joshimath and Badrinath, destroyed by flashfloods and landslides which killed as many as 830 people and injured over 5,000.

State officials said only 53 helicopter sorties could be done due to inclement weather in the morning, and a total of 535 pilgrims had been airlifted. They said over 8,000 people remained stranded at various locations. About 5,000 people are in makeshift camps at Badrinath while 1,200 others are awaiting evacuation at Harsil.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp