Dehradun : A large IAF helicopter today crashed during rescue operations near Gaurikund in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, killing eight persons onboard, including five crew members. Returning from a rescue mission from Guptkashi and Kedarnath, a newly-acquired IAF Mi-17 V5 helicopter crashed north of Gaurikund.
Eleven bodies have been recovered, an IAF source said. The search for survivors had to be called off after it grew dark. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock over the accident while commending the armed forces for their selfless work in saving lives.
While Indian Air Force (IAF) and army officials maintained that the rescue operations would continue, they admitted that the operations had taken a brief hit and added that they were now being extra cautious and not over zealous. All efforts are being done to pull out the trapped people but we will now take weather conditions and warnings more seriously, an army officer told the sources.
The NDMA declared Uttarakhand devastation a severe natural disaster and requested leaders not to politicise the issue. It also said it would send a team to locate bodies under the debris.