NEW DELHI: A Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF crashed while undertaking rescue operations in the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand on Tuesday afternoon, killing the five crew members and three others on board.
“The helicopter was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath and crashed north on its return leg. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the accident. Rescue operations will, however, continue,” said an officer.
IAF has mounted its largest airlift operation in history to rescue people and ferry supplies under its ongoing Operation Rahat, with 45 aircraft and helicopters undertaking over 1,300 sorties since June 17. Over the last couple of days, bad weather has brought down the the number of sorties flown in the affected areas.
But IAF chief Air Marshal N A K Browne on Monday asked those still stranded in the affected areas as well as their family members elsewhere not to lose heart since the forces were working round-the-clock. “Our helicopter rotors will not stop churning till such time we get each one of you out. Do not lose hope and hang in there,” he said.