Three killed as helicopter crashes in rain-hit Uttarkashi

Dehradun:  A helicopter engaged in relief and rescue operations in the rain-ravaged Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand crashed on Wednesday killing three persons on board including two crew members.

A private helicopter with three persons on board crashed near Moldi in the rain-hit Uttarkashi district after getting entangled in cables, Uttarakhand's Director General of Police (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said.

The pilot, co-pilot and a local were killed in the crash, he said. Those killed have been identified as the pilot, Captain Lal, co-pilot Captain Shailesh and Rajpal Rana, a resident of Kharsali village.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in a tweet expressed grief at the deaths in the crash and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh each to the next of their kin. He also went to the State Emergency Operation Centre to collect details of the crash.

In his condolence message, the chief minister also prayed for the strength to the family members of the deceased to bear the loss. Torrential rains in Mori area of the district caused large scale damage demolishing a number of houses early on Sunday, killing 16 persons and leaving around half a dozen missing.

The helicopter belonging to Heritage Aviation was among the ones engaged in the relief and rescue operations in the affected villages spread over an area of 70 square km of the district.

The crash occurred when the helicopter was returning after distributing relief materials among the affected people, Uttarkashi Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.

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