Uttarakhand: All 20 on board IAF chopper dead, voice recorder recovered

IAF chopperAn IAF helicopter dropping wood for creamation near Kedarnath Temple. (PTI)

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the ill-fated IAF Mi-17 V5 helicopter were today recovered near Gaurikund in Uttarakhand a day after it crashed during rescue mission, even as IAF chief NAK Browne ruled out possibility of any of the 20 men on board surviving.

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"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.

He said that at this juncture, it would be premature for him to comment as to the reason behind the crash if it was the weather or a technical problem.

Browne said he had been told there were no survivors among the 20 people on board five from IAF, six from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and nine from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Related: Chopper commander was complimented for good work

Asked if the envelope of safety had been pushed, he said, "I won't say that anything was pushed... In the mountains, especially during the monsoon, weather is always an issue.

But, at this point of time, we are not quite sure if it was the weather or a technical problem (that led to the crash)."

He said during rescue missions the risk factor is always considered very closely and it is reviewed almost on a daily basis.

The IAF pilots, he said, were highly qualified and absolute competent in carrying out such missions and the morale of the force is extremely high. The performance of the personnel of the IAF and other agencies involved has been "absolutely marvellous".

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