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India: Uttarakhand flood relief helicopter crashes, killing 20

Indian Air Force rescue helicopter goes down, killing 20 people.

India floods helicopterEnlarge
Indian workers offload wood, to be carried to Kedarnath by the Indian Air Force for cremation preparations, at Gauchar Airfield in Uttarakhand state on June 25, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 20 people died Tuesday when an Indian Air Force (IAF) reflief helicopter crashed en route to the flood-drenched Uttarakhand area, according to the BBC

"The helicopter was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath and crashed north on its return leg," an IAF officer told The Times of India.

The helicopter crashed into a mountain and went down in a river, said the BBC. All five of the helicopter's crew members were killed. 

The Associated Press reported that paramilitary soldiers on Wednesday recovered a total of 20 bodies from the crash site.

Over 800 people have been killed in severe flooding in Uttarakhand, according to the BBC.

Massive evacuation efforts are under way. The Times of India called it the "largest airlift operation in [India's] history;" BBC said 97,000 people had been rescued as of June 15. 

The crash is not believed to hamper further relief efforts. 

"Our helicopter rotors will not stop churning till such time we get each one of you out," a top IAF official pledged on Monday, according to The Times of India.

"Do not lose hope and hang in there,'' he added. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/130625/india-uttarakhand-flood-relief-helicopter-crashes-ki