6 pilgrims, pilot killed in helicopter crash near Kedarnath

KEDARNATH — All seven people, including a pilot, onboard a helicopter were killed after it crashed near Kedarnath in Uttarakhand today.

The helicopter, carrying pilgrims, crashed right after the takeoff from the Kedarnath shrine near Garud Chatti in Rudraprayag at around 11.40 am, officials said.

“Bodies of six pilgrims and a pilot have been recovered from the site,” they said.

Initial investigation suggests bad 6 pilgrims, pilot killed in helicopter crash near Kedarnathweather and poor visibility caused the crash. “The exact cause of the accident will be known after a proper investigation,” said C Ravi Shankar, CEO, Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority.

Aviation regulator sources said a loud noise was heard before the helicopter caught fire. “A Bell 407 helicopter VT-RPN belonging to a Delhi-based Aryan Aviation has crashed on the way from Kedarnath to Guptkashi, possibly due to cloudy weather,” sources told NDTV.

Visuals from the spot showed a massive plume of smoke. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the district police are carrying out a joint search and rescue operation at the accident site.

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered a detailed inquiry into the crash.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed his anguish over the incident and said they are in constant touch with the state government.

President Draupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled the death of pilgrims and the pilot in the chopper crash. — (NDTV)