Six passengers, including a pilot, had a narrow escape and received minor injuries, when a Pawan Hans helicopter flying back to Katra from the Vaishno Devi shrine made an emergency landing at Aghar (6 km ahead of Katra) on Sunday. "The helicopter made an emergency landing due to some technical fault, but all the pilgrims are safe," said police officials. "Passengers received minor injuries and were shifted to the community health centre in Katra," he added.
Meanwhile, governor NN Vohra, who is also chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, directed Navin K Choudhary, chief executive officer of the board to immediately proceed to the accident where the chopper, carrying six passengers from Katra to Sanjichhat made emergency landing. He directed he CEO to supervise the rescue, relief and other required measures. As directed by the Governor, CEO has written to the director general civil aviation to take immediate cognisance of the incident and commence time-bound inquiry. A two-member DGCA inquiry team is reaching Katra on Monday to hold probe.
The incident took place around 12.10 p.m. today and the Shrine Board officials, a medical team, ambulances of the Shrine Board and the State Health Department, and Katra Police immediately rushed to the accident site.
Providing details, the CEO said that three passengers, including the Pilot of the affected Helicopter, were brought to the Katra Hospital by a rescue Helicopter and the other four passengers were brought to the Katra Hospital by ambulances.
After being administered urgent medical treatment all the four passengers were referred to the Government Medical College, Jammu, for further examination and treatment.
The CEO had arranged their evacuation to Jammu by Helicopter but this could not materialize for want of IAF clearance due to the weather pattern over the Nandni hills. Consequently all injured passengers were brought to Government Medical College, Jammu, in Critical Care Ambulances and have been declared out of danger. The Pilot was evacuated from Katra to the Command Hospital, Udhampur, for the required treatment.
Governor, has directed the CEO to ensure best medical treatment and all required assistance to the passengers and their families at the Shrine Board's expense.
The helicopter landed at Chamada village of Aghar, a spot near Katra (50km from here). Earlier in 2007, six Vaishno Devi pilgrims had a narrow escape when a private helicopter made an emergency landing at Katra due to technical snag.