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Uttarakhand: Two killed as Helicopter carrying flood relief crashes in Uttarkashi

By Simran Kashyap
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New Delhi, Aug 21: Two people were killed and one injured after a private helicopter carrying relief material to the victims of the severe floods and cloudburst in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand crashed on Wednesday afternoon. The helicopter was going from Mori to Moldi in Uttarkashi district. Three people who were onboard the helicopter are missing.

Officials and locals near the wreckage of a private helicopter, which crashed while carrying relief material for the cloudburst-hit people of Arakot, near Moldi in Uttarkashi

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The chopper, according to information available, was carrying relief material from Dehradun and was flying from Mori towards Arakot. It belonged to a company called Heritage Aviation. Three people who were on-board the helicopter include Captain Lal, Co-pilot Shailesh & a local person Rajpal.

The helicopter crashed near Moldi while returning after distributing relief material among the affected people, Uttarkashi Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal told PTI over the phone.

"According to preliminary information the crash did not occur at a high altitude and those on board should be safe," he said, adding details are awaited. Only members of the crew were on board the aircraft when it crashed, he said.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Devendra Negi said,'' Two out of the three persons who were on-board the helicopter, have died & one is severely injured.''

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced a compensation of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of the persons who have lost their lives in the helicopter crash in Uttarkashi District.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rawat visited the rain-ravaged Mori block of Uttarkashi to take stock of relief and rescue operations, while the death toll in rain-related incidents in the district rose to 16. He announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the natural calamity.

Search and rescue teams of the State Disaster Response Force recovered three more bodies from Sanel village on Tuesday, Uttarkashi's Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.

Makudi is the worst hit among the villages, where heavy rains led to the collapse of a number of houses early on Sunday. The six affected villages include Arakot, Makudi, Molda, Sanel, Tikochi and Dwichanu.

So far, seven bodies have been recovered from Makudi, four each from Arakot and Sanel and one from Tikochi.

The chief minister, who had sent his ministers to the disaster-hit areas of Uttarkashi on Monday, himself visited the affected areas along with Tehri MP Mala Rajya Lakshmi Shah, state BJP president and Nainital MP Ajay Bhatt and Vikasnagar MLA Munna Singh Chauhan on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation.

After an aerial survey of affected villages like Makudi, Tikochi, Kiranu, Chiwan, Balawat, Duchanu, Dagoli, Barnali, Gokul and Maunda, the chief minister met the affected people in Arakot and assured them of all possible help from the government, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said.

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