Four more bodies were recovered by IAF commandos near Gaurikund in Uttarakhand where an IAF Mi-17 helicopter carrying 20 people had crashed during a rescue mission and all onboard are feared killed.
During night-long search operations,Garud commandos recovered four more bodies,IAF sources said,adding that till this morning 12 bodies have been found from the site of yesterday’s crash of the large Air Force chopper.
The dead include five IAF officials while the identity of others is being ascertained,they said. There were 20 people onboard the ill-fated chopper five from IAF,six from ITBP and rest from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF),National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) sources said.
The Mi-17 V5 chopper was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath and crashed yesterday afternoon while returning from Kedarnath north of Gaurikund,according to an IAF spokesperson.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne rushed to Uttarakhand today to boost the morale of pilots operating in difficult weather conditions. The crash occurred in “difficult” weather conditions created by rains and fog,a senior IAF official said here. The chopper belonged to a unit from Barrackpore Air Force Station in West Bengal under the Eastern Air Command.
A Court of Inquiry has been order to investigate the crash,the IAF spokesperson said. IAF said its operations in the area will continue. IAF had started inducting Mi-17 V5 choppers only last year after 80 of them were ordered from Russia. This is the second incident of a helicopter crash this week in the hill state. A private chopper had crashed in Gaurikund area on Sunday leaving the pilot injured.