Copter crashlands near Vaishno Devi
Police personnel near the crashed helicopter carrying five Vaishno Devi pilgrims which made an emergency landing near Katra on Sunday. | PTI

The pilot and six pilgrims aboard a helicopter were injured when it made an emergency crashlanding near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in the Katra area of Jammu on Sunday.

Whether the crashlanding, shortly after takeoff at 12.10 p.m, was due to hostile weather or a technical snag would be looked into by a team of experts, Governor N.N. Vohra’s Principal Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Naveen Choudhary told The Hindu

“The Governor, as head of the Shrine Board, has ordered an inquiry. On his request, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is deputing a team of experts, which will arrive in Jammu tomorrow [on Monday].”

Mr. Choudhary said all six passengers suffered minor injuries. They were rushed to hospital. The pilot, who sustained spinal cord injuries, was airlifted and admitted to the Army’s Command Hospital at Udhampur. Official sources said the helicopter landed on a wetland over the Trikota Hills.

Sources said the injured, all from New Delhi, were initially admitted to the District Hospital at Reasi and later taken to Jammu by critical care ambulances of the State’s Health and Medical Education Department. Two of them had head injuries. They were stated to be stable and likely to be discharged on Monday.

The six-seater, of Pawan Hans company, was part of a daily helicopter service that flies pilgrims between Katra and Sanjichhat over the Trikota Hills in Reasi district.

The pilgrims disembark at Sanjichhat and walk three miles to reach the cave shrine. After fresh snowfall over the hills in the last two weeks, the number of pilgrims has drastically reduced.

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