Uttarakhand: Helicopter crashes near Kedarnath, 7 dead including pilot
A helicopter carrying pilgrims crashed near Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on Tuesday morning, leaving seven people dead, including two pilots, said reports. Officials have confirmed that all bodies were recovered from the site of the accident near Garud Chatti during relief and rescue operations. The chopper was carrying the pilgrims from Kedarnath to Phata and crashed soon after the takeoff, reported The Times of India.
Seven people were onboard the chopper
#WATCH | Uttarakhand: A helicopter carrying Kedarnath pilgrims from Phata crashes, casualties feared; administration team left for the spot for relief and rescue work. Further details awaited pic.twitter.com/sDf4x1udlJ— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2022
Snowfall begins at accident site
Bad weather conditions in the area might have caused the helicopter crash, said officials. Reportedly, it has begun snowing at the site and at Kedarnath Dham, too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Draupadi Murmu, Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, among others, expressed grief over the accident and conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families.
Bad weather to prevail for some hours
Cause of accident to be ascertained after proper investigation: Official
Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority CEO, C Ravi Shankar, confirmed that all seven people onboard the chopper, including the pilot, died in the crash. He added the incident took place at around 11:40 am. "The chopper [took off] from Kedarnath and was heading toward Guptkashi. The cause of the accident will be known after a proper investigation," Shankar was quoted as saying by ANI.
Here's the list of deceased as identified by officials
#Kedarnath #helicopter crash: SDRF continues rescue operation amid snow and overcast conditions. 7 persons in chopper have been identified as— kautilyasTOI (@kautilyasTOI) October 18, 2022
7.पायलट अनिल सिंह @timesofindia @UttarakhandTOI @Anoopnautiyal1 pic.twitter.com/CnmM1N0eJp
Helicopter ran into cloudy weather at Garud Chatti
Pictures from the incident showed debris strewn all over the place; the crash also sparked a fire in a forest there. The helicopter was identified as a Bell-407 (registered VT-RPN) belonging to Delhi-based Aryan Aviation, which has a non-scheduled operator's permit (NSOP) for flying. According to preliminary information, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said the chopper ran into cloudy weather at Garud Chatti.