Gauchar/Sonprayag: An IAF chopper carrying 20 personnel and crew on a rescue mission in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand crashed on Tuesday and all on board are feared killed, as fresh rains hampered efforts to evacuate thousands still stranded.
The helicopter, on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath, crashed north of Gaurikund on the return leg from Kedarnath, Vice chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) M Sashidhar Reddy said “Eight bodies have been recovered,”
As the crash in bad weather compounded the tragedy of the rain fury, mass cremation of bodies of hundreds of people killed in the devastation by floods and landslides since rains pounded the hill state on June 15 was delayed raising fears of disease outbreak.
A private helicopter carrying relief materials for the rain-affected people in Rudraprayag district had crashed on Sunday near Gaurikund leaving the pilot injured.
Uttarakhand has been hit by fresh rains and landslides for the past two days. Incidents of landslides were reported from Tehri district. Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport today but air rescue operations to evacuate stranded people resumed after the weather improved.
Meanwhile, the Met department has warned of more rains over the next 24 hours in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Dehradun.
“We’re expecting rains across the state. Heavy rains are possible in Uttarkashi and Chamoli and rescue operations will be affected. Rains across the state are expected on Wednesday too,” a Met department official was quoted as saying.