7 killed as helicopter carrying Kedarnath pilgrims crashes near shrine

A helicopter with seven people onboard, including two pilots and devotees visiting the Kedarnath temple, crashed on Tuesday. Reports said the accident happened in Garudchatti, Uttarakhand two kilometres away from the shrine. All onboard the chopper are feared dead.

The helicopter belonged to a private company. It took off from the Phata Kedarnath helipad on Tuesday morning amid poor visibility.

The chopper burst into flames near Jungle Chatti en route to the shrine.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said his ministry is constantly monitoring the situation.

“The helicopter crash in Kedarnath is extremely unfortunate. We are in touch with the state government to ascertain the magnitude of the loss, and are constantly monitoring the situation,” he said in a tweet.

A senior civil aviation ministry official said the helicopter involved in the crash was operated by Aryan Aviation.

“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.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami expresses condolences over the helicopter crash at Garuda Chatti near Kedarnath.

“SDRF & district administration teams have reached the spot for relief and rescue work. A detailed inquiry has been ordered into this tragic incident,” he tweeted

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