8 killed in IAF chopper crash in Uttarakhand

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HELICOPTEGauchar, June 25;An IAF helicopter on Tuesday crashed during rescue operations near Gaurikund in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, killing eight persons onboard, including five crew members.

“One Mi-17 V5 chopper on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath while returning from Kedarnath crashed north of Gaurikund,” an IAF spokesperson said.

Eight persons onboard, including five crew members, suffered fatal injuries in the mishap, she said in Delhi.

A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the crash, the spokesperson said.

The IAF said its operations in the area will continue.

IAF had started inducting Mi-17 V5 choppers only in 2012 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 helicopter carrying relief materials for the rain-affected people in Rudraprayag district had crashed on Sunday near Gaurikund leaving the pilot injured.

Air Force officials said eight bodies have been recovered from the crash site by the Garud Commandos of the IAF.

They said the chopper had taken off at 12.30 p.m. from Kedarnath area and crashed within five to seven minutes.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony has expressed anguish over the crash.

A pall of gloom descended at the helipad in Gauchar after reports of the crash reached.

IAF, Army and ITBP officers went into a huddle at a tent erected by the Air Force for controlling its operations.

Senior officials of the agencies involved in the rescue operations also rushed to the helipad.

IAF officers were seen making anxious calls over their cellphones and restricted frequency equipment to finetune the operations and gather details of the crash.

Presence of local police officials has been beefed up in the area after the mishap.

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