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Uttarakhand floods: 3 dead after helicopter used for relief aid crashes in Uttarkashi

Three people including the pilot have been killed, an SDRF official confirmed.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun |
Updated: August 22, 2019 2:50:28 am
helicopter crash in uttarkashi, uttarkashi helicopter crash, helicopter crash with relief materials, chopper with relief materials crashes in uttarkashi, india news Helicopter crashes in Uttarakashi. (Source: ANI)

Three people were killed when a helicopter engaged in rescue operations in cloudburst-hit areas of Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district crashed at Moldi village in Arakot on Wednesday. The helicopter was owned by a private agency.

The pilot, co-pilot and a villager have been killed in the mishap, the state government confirmed.

According to a statement by the state government, the helicopter crashed after colliding with a mountain while it was trying to avoid a wire. However, Uttarkashi Sub-Divisional Magistrate Anurag Arya said the cause of accident will only be ascertained after a technical inquiry. “Nobody was there when the incident took place. All three persons in the helicopter are dead. So it is not clear whether the helicopter crashed due to collision with the mountain or due to contact with the wire. Prima facie it appears that the incident occurred because the helicopter came in contact with the wire. But the cause will be clear only after technical inquiry.”

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the kin of each deceased.

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Owned by Heritage Aviation, the helicopter had carried relief material to flood-hit areas on Wednesday morning, officials said.

An official of Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority said the helicopter landed safely in Moldi around 11.30 am and it had to fly back to the base camp in Arakot after dropping relief material and then to Dehradun. The crash took place around 12.20 pm when the helicopter was taking off. Teams of the NDRF and SDRF were sent to the spot.

The three people onboard the chopper died on the spot. They have been identified as pilot Ranjeev Lal (54), a resident of Delhi, co-pilot Shailesh Kumar Singh (34) from Kolkata, and Rajpal Rana (30), a resident of Kharsali village in Uttarkashi district.

As many as 15 people were reportedly killed due to the cloudburst in Uttarkashi on Sunday. The state government had engaged four helicopters of civil aviation and Air Force for relief work.

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