Badrinath chopper crash: Engineer strangled in rotor blades, 2 pilots injured
A crew member was killed while two pilots suffered injuries when a helicopter carrying five pilgrims crashed while taking off from Badrinath, one of the four famed Chardham shrines, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Saturday.
The passengers were safe.
The deceased has been identified as helicopter engineer Vikram Lamba, who hailed from Assam.
Chamoli Superintendent of Police Tripti Bhatt said the incident took place at 7.35 am. The helicopter could hardly cover 100 mtrs towards Govindghat before losing balance due to insufficient air pressure and falling down. As it fell, 35-year-old Lamba jumped out of a window and was hit in the head by the rotor blades. He died at the spot.
Pilot Sanjay Wasi, a resident of Pune in Maharashtra, complained of slight backache, while co-pilot Alka Shukla, a resident of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, suffered minor injury.
The pilgrims --- Jashodaben, Naveen Bhai, Leela Ben, Harish Bhai and Ramesh Bhai --- were from Vadodara in Gujarat. They were provided transportation by road to Haridwar.
The Agusta-119 single engine helicopter belonged to Mumbai-based private operator and was on its way from Badrinath to Haridwar. The company is providing its services on the routes for the first time, officials said.
Teams of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) have rushed to the spot. The AAIB will probe the accident, a senior DGCA official said.
On direction of state chief secretary S Ramaswamy, Commissioner, Garhwal, Vinod Sharma ordered a probe. A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) will conduct the inquiry.
Meanwhile, there were reports that the helicopter lost balance due to overloading. It has been alleged that the chopper was six-seater but had eight people, including three crew members, on board.
“The DGCA gives clearance to aviation companies for providing services on specified routes,” Umakant Panwar, principal secretary, aviation, told the Hindustan Times.
“The state DGCA has sent a technical report, which I am yet to see. If there was overloading, then action will be taken against the service provider,” he added.
(With inputs from Arvind Moudgil in Pauri)
Rawat condoles engineer’s death, ex-CM attacks him
Dehradun: Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat condoled the death of an engineer in an helicopter mishap in Badrinath Saturday.
“Saddened by the news of death of an engineer of a Mumbai based chopper company in SriBadrinath ji; pilot, co-pilot & all passengers are safe,” Rawat said in a tweet.
“My condolences to the family of the engineer - May God give them strength to bear this extremely unfortunate loss,” he posted.
State tourism minister Satpal Maharaj also expressed grief.
The Opposition Congress, meanwhile, blamed the BJP government for failing to monitor the aviation industry. Former CM Harish Rawat said a project to constitute an apex civil aviation body in state was scrapped by the BJP government.
“It is a failure on the part of the BJP government that they failed to constitute a body to directly monitor the aviation industry,” the former CM said.