Six pilgrims and a woman pilot were killed at the base camp of the Vaishsnodevi shrine.
The chopper of a private airliner, which was carrying pilgrims from Sanjichat helipad in Trikuta hills, crashed at new bus stand area in Katra, IGP Jammu, Danish Rana told PTI.
5 dead in Helicopter crash near Katra(J&K), pilgrims were on their way to Sanji Chhat pic.twitter.com/5M4wf7njFr— ANI (@ANI_news) November 23, 2015
"Copter was being piloted by a lady. Technical fault might have led to the crash. Matter under investigation," DIG Udhampur-Reasi Range, Surinder Gupta said.
According to unconfirmed reports, the chopper caught fire mid-air and the pilot averted the crash in a populated area in Katra.
Meanwhile, Vaishno Devi Shrine board has announced to give ex-gratia of 3 lakh to each family of the crash victims.
Many pilgrims opt for the helicopter service to reach the cave shrine while others trek on foot. The shrine is located at a height of 5300 feet on the Trikuta Hills. Katra town is 50 Kms away from Jammu.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah expressed his condolences over the mishap.
"Very sorry to hear about the chopper crash in Katra. My prayers are with the families of the victims. RIP," he tweeted.
Very sorry to hear about the chopper crash in Katra. My prayers are with the families of the victims. RIP— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 23, 2015
(With inputs from agencies)