On Monday 23rd November 2015, it was a sight of terrible shock and sadness in the religious valley of Vaishno Devi.
The helicopter crashed during the eight minute flight when it caught fire soon after it took off. The helicopter reportedly belonged to Himalayan ‘Heli Service’, which also operates helicopter services in the Chaar Dhaam pilgrimage in Uttarakhand.
The victims included a newly married couple, Arjun Singh Chib (age 25), and his wife Vandana (22), both residents of Gho Manasa near Jammu, their nephew Maheshawar Singh (19), Sachin Solanki (32), and his daughter six year old daughter Akshita, from Rohini in Delhi. The sixth deceased was identified as Aryanjeet Singh age 52, of Trikuta Nagar, Jammu, and a pilot Sunita Vijayn of Hyderabad.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Surinder Gupta said the helicopter was on way from Katra to Sanji Chhat, which falls en route to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Trikuta Hills. He said the crash took place at 1.03 PM but the police are still ascertaining what led to the accident.
Sources, however, said that a bird had hit the chopper while gaining height, making the pilot to crash-land in an open ground. However, in the process, the chopper’s router got entangled with a high tension wire, causing fire. Helicopter sorties between Katra and Sanji Chhat were suspended immediately after the crash but the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi shrine on foot and on ponies continued as usual.
Out of every 20,000 pilgrims who pay homage to Vaishno Devi every day, around 1000 people use helicopters services.
We are deeply saddened by this unfortunate event and pay our deepest condolences to those who lost their lives in this tragic accident. May god give peace to their souls and strength to their families. Also, chopper services should take more precautions as its a daily routine for many people to use helipad services to travel.
Source : The Indian Express