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Uttarakhand chopper crash: all 20 on board killed, says IAF Chief

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Uttarakhand chopper crash: all 20 on board killed, says IAF Chief
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New Delhi: The dead bodies of all those killed in the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crash in Uttarakhand Tuesday have been recovered, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said Wednesday.

Browne, who reached Gauchar in Uttarakhand Wednesday morning to boost the morale of IAF personnel, said: "All the 20 bodies have been recovered."

"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 told reporters after interacting with IAF officers and men here.

The air chief marshal will also do an aerial survey of the chopper crash site.

Browne also said that the rescue operations would be wrapped up within two-three days after the weather clears up.

The air chief marshal also offered condolence on the death of the personnel belonging to IAF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) who died in the Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash.

The crash claimed the lives of nine personnel of NDRF, six of the ITBP and five of the Indian Air Force.

On Wednesday morning, the rescue and evacuation operations were delayed in the rain-ravaged Uttarakhand owing to rains and dense fog in some areas, officials said.

"After the chopper crash Tuesday, we are moving with caution to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur. We are waiting for the weather to improve," said a senior state official.

While at some places the skies had opened up, fog remained a cause of concern, the official added.

The rescue mission to rescue more than 7,500 people still stranded on the Badrinath route in Joshimath and Harshil is likely to start around noon, officials involved in the operations told IANS.

Helicopter services, however, are continuing in Dharasu area of Uttarkashi. But with the inclement weather continuing to affect the rescue, army is now focussing more on the evacuation on foot.

Rescuers have been urging people to walk to safety to the army base camps with the help of the troopers guiding them.

The people, who have now reached the relief and medical camps set up by army, are waiting for the weather to clear so that sorties of choppers may begin and they can be airlifted to Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh.

More than 845 people have been confirmed dead in the natural calamity that hit Uttarakhand June 15.

Meanwhile, the bodies of eight people on board an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper which crashed Tuesday have been located. Officials say the probability of survival of the remaining 11 is remote. The chopper has been charred badly.

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