Uttarakhand chopper crash: Bodies of all 20 on board recovered, says IAF

Dehradun, PTI | Updated : 27 June 2013, 06:49 PM

The bodies of all the 20 personnel and crew on board the crashed IAF rescue chopper were on Thursday recovered from the wreckage site in a hilly area in Uttarakhand even as the Air Force Chief told his men to move on.     

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the ill-fated Mi-17V5 helicopter were also retrieved near Gaurikund, a day after the chopper crashed in bad weather during a rescue mission in the flood-ravaged hill state.

These vital instruments are expected to give clues as to what may have crashed the mishap of the newly acquired Russian-built chopper.     

"The bodies of all the 20 victims have been recovered and four of them were brought to Dehradun," Vice Chairman of NDMAM Sashidhar Reddy told on Wednesday night.     

Five of the victims were from IAF, six from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and nine from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of the NDMA.     

"I need to see you boys smiling," Air Chief Marshal N A KBrowne told his men, as he touched down at the airbase here on a morale boosting mission.

"Oh I just told them that I want to see them smiling. I told them they need to keep moving forward," Browne told reporters this morning after he met his pilots and men on the tarmac here where the mood was sombre.

"I told my troops like in a war, you have to just keep going on." He said that at this juncture, it would be premature for him to comment as to the reason behind the crash -- if it was the weather or a technical problem.

Donning his dark blue overall, Browne made it a point by flying in a Mi-17 chopper from Dehradun and that too in a relief sortie that brought food and other materials.

He said the morale of his boys was sky high and they were flying their sorties with enthusiasm as there still was "job to be done" (of rescuing people).

Browne said a squad of Garuda commandos located the wreckage of the Mi-17 V5 chopper which went down on Wednesday north of Gaurikund.     

"Fortunately, we have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. And, I think, in a few days' time, we will get to know absolutely as to what exactly happened," he said.

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First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 08:41 AM
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