IAF mercy chopper crashes in Uttarakhand

A newly-acquired Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-17 V5 helicopter crashed while engaged on a rescue mission in Uttarakhand yesterday killing eight people, including its five crew members, an official statement said.

Collateral damage: An Indian Air Force Mi-17 transport helicopter on a rescue sortie prepares to land at Dharasu in Uttarakhand on June 22. A similar chopper crashed during a rescue operation, killing five crew members yesterday. Representation Pic/AFP

The helicopter, on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath, crashed north of Gaurikund on the return leg from Kedarnath, the statement said. It also said that there would be no let up in relief operations.

“The eight persons onboard, including five crew members, sustained fatal injuries,” the statement said. “While a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident, the IAF’s rescue operations continue,” the statement added.

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.  

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