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Six pilgrims, pilot killed in helicopter crash near Kedarnath shrine

The weather was reportedly bad. It was raining. The terrain is also difficult to manoeuvre. Possibly it crashed against a hill in poor visibility due to fog. Winter is about to set in. Chopper mishaps have become very common in the hills of Uttarakhand for various reasons. India Travel Times had reported earlier that accidents are waiting to happen at Char Dhams.

RUDRAPRAYAG (Uttarakhand), Oct 18: The pilot and six pilgrims were killed when their helicopter from Kedarnath shrine to Phata crashed near Garud Chatti on Tuesday morning. There were no survivors.

"All seven onboard have died" in the chopper crash, Rudraprayag District Disaster Management confirmed. The chopper on crash broke up and caught fire. Debris are seen spread all over. The accident took place at 11:40 am. Garud Chatti is about two km from Kedarnath.

It was on its way from Kedarnath to Phata. The weather was reportedly bad. It was raining. The terrain is also difficult to manoeuvre. Possibly it crshed against a hill in poor visibility.

Those killed in the Bell 407 VT-RPN helicopter crash have been identified as Purva Ramanuj, Kruti Brad, Urvi, Sujata, Prem Kumar, Kalra and pilot Anil Singh

“The search and rescue operation is going on. The helicopter was from the Aryan Company and seven people were travelling on it. Due to fog, there was less visibility and the helicopter crashed after colliding with a hill,” said the SDRF in a statement.

"According to the preliminary information, a Bell 407 helicopter VT-RPN crashed on the way from Kedarnath to Guptkashi, possibly due to bad weather," a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

SDRF and district administration teams carrying out search and rescue operations. An inquiry has been ordered.

Civil Aviation Minister Scindia tweeted that emergency relief operations were in process.

The chopper belongs to a Delhi-based NSOP holder, M/s Aryan Aviation.

Kedarnath pilgrimage

Kedarnath journey involves 14 km trekking up the hills to reach the shrine unlike Badrinath where motorable road will reach right up to the shrine. Therefore private helicopter service is availlable for those needy, to cover the 14 km distance from Gaurikund to Kedarnath or even more. There are several heliports on the route. Buses and taxis go up to Gaurikund. Dolis, pitthus and mules are also available from Gaurikund to the shrine for those who cannot trek.

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