Helicopter crashes in India killing 17 domestic tourists

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2011 8:16 AM
Helicopter crashes in India killing 17 domestic tourists

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - A helicopter packed with Indian tourists crashed Tuesday in mountains near the Chinese border and 17 people were killed, police said.

The helicopter was carrying 23 people and caught fire as it was preparing to land in the northeastern state of Arunanchal Pradesh. It crashed into a gorge.

"Six people have been rescued with severe burn injuries," said G. Padu, a senior civil servant in the Tawang district where the crash took place. "The rest of them are dead. Efforts are on to recover their bodies."

The death toll was likely to rise, Padu said.

There were 18 passengers, including two children, and five crew members on the Mi-17 helicopter, owned by the state-owned Pawan Hans transport company.

The Russian-made helicopter had flown from Guwahati, the region's main city, to Tawang, where there is a famous Buddhist monastery. All of the passengers were Indian tourists.

(Reporting by Biswajyoti Das; Editing by Henry Foy and Robert Birsel)