Three people in a helicopter carrying relief material to the flood-affected areas in Uttarakhand died after their chopper crashed this afternoon. The private helicopter crashed in Uttarkashi district when it hit a power cable.
The helicopter crashed near Moldi while returning after distributing relief material among the affected people, Uttarkashi Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal told news agency PTI over phone.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel who were involved in relief work spotted the chopper crashing and rushed to the spot. The helicopter got entangled in cables.
The pilot, co-pilot and a local were killed in the crash, senior Uttarakhand police officer Ashok Kumar said.
Aviation watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA has deputed a team of officials to conduct a preliminary enquiry over the crash, according to a senior official, reported PTI. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau or AAIB is likely to probe the accident. The AAIB is responsible for investigating all major aircraft accidents in the country.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, in a tweet, expressed grief.
"Rs 15 lakh will be given to the families of each victim," said Mr Rawat.
Heavy rain and cloudbursts in the past few days have led to a flood-like situation in parts of Uttarakhand, leaving people stranded in several areas. 35 people have died in the state. The Tons River has been flowing above the danger level in Uttarkashi following heavy rainfall in the past few days.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday visited the rain-ravaged Mori block of Uttarkashi, where 16 people died.
Other north Indian states such as Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana too grappled with the impact of heavy rain. 43 people have died in Himachal in rain that triggered landslides.
Uttarakhand had been struck by devastating floods in 2013 that killed thousands of people and caused extensive damage.
Extreme rainfall had caused lakes and rivers to burst their banks, inundating towns and villages below.
A government report filed by a panel of experts had said badly managed hydro-power projects were partly to blame for the disaster.
While the official number of deaths was about 900, more than 5,700 people were declared missing, making it the deadliest ever in the mountainous region.
Floods or landslides also washed away or damaged 5,000 roads, 200 bridges and innumerable buildings.
(With inputs from PTI)
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