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Jammu: Six pilgrims and a woman pilot were on Monday killed when a chopper crashed in Katra, the base camp of the Vaishsnodevi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.
The chopper of a private airliner, which was carrying pilgrims from Sanjichat helipad in Trikuta hills, crashed at new bus stand area in Katra, IGP Jammu, Danish Rana said.
The helicopter belonged to the privately-run Himalayan Heli services.
According to unconfirmed reports, the chopper caught fire mid-air and the pilot averted the crash in a populated area in Katra.
Taking to micro blogging site, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “Very sorry to hear about the chopper crash in Katra. My prayers are with the families of the victims. RIP.”
Very sorry to hear about the chopper crash in Katra. My prayers are with the families of the victims. RIP
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 23, 2015
No one has been injured on the ground due to the crash. The reason for the crash is under investigation.
Vaishno Devi is one of the major pilgrim centres of India, where thousands of devotees come to offer prayers.
Helicopter carrying Vaishno Devi pilgrims crashes near Katra, 7 persons including pilot dead. (Spot visuals) pic.twitter.com/Pi4l7tCnLN
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 23, 2015
Many pilgrims opt for the helicopter service to reach the cave shrine while others trek on foot. The shrine is located at a height of 5300 feet on the Trikuta Hills. Katra town is 50 Kms away from Jammu.
(With agency inputs)