Copter crash victims' bodies recovered

Copter crash victims' bodies recovered

 Bodies of all the people on board the Mi-17 V5 rescue chopper of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which crashed in the hills of Uttarakhand on Tuesday, have been recovered, taking the toll to 20.

Among those dead are five IAF personnel, including two pilots, besides nine National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and six Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel. Their bodies were found at a steep hillside where the helicopter crashed. Soldiers braved the treacherous hill tracks to reach the accident site and recover the bodies.

Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne arrived at Dehradun on Wednesday and headed straight to Gauchar to take stock of the situation. “Twenty warriors have died. It is a loss for the entire nation,” Browne said. “The rotors won’t stop, we owe it to our men who died.”

The cockpit voice and data recorders have been recovered. They will be analysed for ascertaining the cause of the crash. Browne said it was difficult to confirm whether a technical snag or poor weather conditions caused the crash. He observed that it may take three to four more days to wrap up the operation, depending on the weather.

The Uttarakhand government declared state mourning on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the martyrs. While Uttarakhand announced Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased, Gujarat announced Rs 5 lakh each.

The state government also announced free education in Uttarakhand for the children of the deceased. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Browne on Wednesday to offer condolence to the families of the IAF personnel who perished in the crash.

Pilot’s death

In the evening, she waited for her the call that her son had promised but only got the heartbreaking news that IAF pilot K Praveen was no more.

Flt Lt Praveen was among the 20 killed in the Tuesday helicopter crash during a rescue mission in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand. As a pall of gloom descended at Praveen’s TVS Nagar residence in Madurai on Wednesday, his promise to speak to his mother after completing the day’s rescue mission on Tuesday in the hill state turned out to be his last words.

Praveen was among the five IAF personnel who perished along with six from ITBP and nine from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) when IAF’s Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed during a rescue mission on Tuesday.

The IAF pilot had told his mother that he would talk to her after the day’s mission to rescue people stranded in flood ravaged Uttarakhand.

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