All helicopter services to Vaishnodevi, near Jammu, have been suspended after a copter crashed today killing all passengers and the lady pilot operating it. Seven people in all have died in the mishap.
Among the dead was the woman pilot and six pilgrims. The dead also include a 3 month old baby presumably accompanied by her parents. The helicpoter was reportedly heading to Sanjhi Chhat near Vaishno Devi from Katra. It crashed during the eight minute flight when it caught fire soon after take off.
The helicopter belonged to Himalayan Heli Service, which also operates helicopter services in the Chaar Dhaam pilgrimage in Uttarakhand. The pilot’s name was Sumita Vijayan. The complete list of the deceased: is – Sumita Vijayan (pilot), Arjun Singh Chib, Mahesh, Vandana Chib, Akshita, Amrit Paul and Sachin.
More details of why the fire began are awaited.