20 dead as India rescue copter crashes

2013-06-26 10:01
Indian workers offload wood, to be carried to Kedarnath by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for cremation preparations. (Manan Vatsyayana, AFP)

Indian workers offload wood, to be carried to Kedarnath by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for cremation preparations. (Manan Vatsyayana, AFP)

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New Delhi - All 20 people on board a helicopter that crashed while taking part in rescue operations in flood-affected areas of India's northern state of Uttarakhand were killed, officials said on Wednesday.

A total of 845 people have been confirmed dead in the flash floods and landslides in the hill state on 15-16 June that were caused by heavy monsoon rains, IANS news agency reported citing police.

The Indian Air Force helicopter carrying rescue personnel from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the National Disaster Response Force crashed Tuesday into a steep hillside.

"There are no survivors. There were 20 people on board including the crew," said air force chief NAK Browne, who was on a visit to the state.

Thousands of people - pilgrims, tourists and villagers - were stranded by the flash floods and landslides which damaged roads and bridges and flattened buildings.

Rescue operations on foot and using helicopters continued Wednesday amid poor weather in parts of the region which saw dense fog and heavy rain. Fresh landslides were reported in the Paudi area.

More than 90 000 people have been rescued so far but an estimated 5 000 to 6 000 were still stranded.

Read more on:    india  |  floods

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