3 Killed as Helicopter Involved in Flood Relief Crashes in Uttarakhand; DGCA to Conduct Preliminary Probe


Dehradun: Three people were killed after a helicopter involved in relief efforts in flood-hit Uttarakhand crashed in the Uttarkashi district on Wednesday and erupted in flames after it got entangled in the overhead electricity wires.

The State Disaster Response Force said the dead have been identified as Captain Lal, co-pilot Shailesh and a local person named Rajpal. A team of 10 members has been sent to the site of the crash.

The chopper crashed near Moldi while returning after distributing relief material among the affected people. It belonged to a company called Heritage Aviation and was among the ones engaged in relief and rescue operations in the affected villages spread over 70 square km area of the district.

The crash occurred when the helicopter was returning after distributing the relief material among the affected people, Uttarkashi Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, in a tweet, expressed grief at the deaths in the crash. He prayed for strength to the family members of the deceased to bear the loss.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has deputed a team of officials to conduct a preliminary enquiry in the crash.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is likely to probe the accident, the official added. The AAIB has the responsibility of investigating all major aircraft incidents and accidents in the country.

The death toll in rain-related incidents in Mori block of Uttarkashi district has touched 12, with five people still missing. Heavy rain and cloudbursts have led to a flood-like situation in parts of Uttarakhand, leaving people stranded in several areas.

The Tons River has been flowing above the danger level in Uttarkashi following heavy rainfall in the past few days. Three helicopters, including one from the IAF, were pressed into service to take relief material, including food packets and medicines, to people.

Houses and crop on several hectares were washed away as the torrential rain lashed Mori block of Uttarkashi, which borders Himachal Pradesh, in the wee hours on Sunday.

(With inputs from PTI)