New Delhi: The dead bodies of all those killed in the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crash in Uttarakhand on Tuesday have been recovered, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said.

Browne, who reached Gauchar in Uttarakhand on Wednesday morning to boost the morale of IAF personnel, said: "All the 20 bodies have been recovered and the cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft has also been found."

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Browne also said that the rescue operations would be wrapped up within two-three days after the weather clears up. "We will sustain the mission and continue to keep the morale (of our personnel) high. The operations are going to continue. In fact, most of the work has already been done. It is now a question of getting the people out from Badrinath and the Harsil sector," the Air Force chief, who interacted with IAF officers and men, added.

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The Air Chief Marshal will also do an aerial survey of the chopper crash site."We will be able to ascertain the reason of the crash only after analyzing the cockpit voice recorder that has been recovered," he added.

READ MORE: Toll in Uttarakhand calamity rises to 822

He also offered condolence on the death of the personnel belonging to IAF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) who died in the Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash.

The crash claimed the lives of nine personnel of NDRF, six of the ITBP and five of the Indian Air Force.

Air sorties to continue
     
An IAF spokesperson said its operations in the area will continue. A Court of Inquiry has been order to investigate the crash, the spokesperson added.

The IAF has said rescue sorties would continue in the state, where more than 8,000 people are still stranded even over a week after torrential rains caused heavy flooding and triggered several landslides in the hill state of Uttarakhand.

Mass cremation delayed
     
As the crash in bad weather compounded the tragedy of the rain fury, mass cremation of bodies of hundreds of people killed in the devastation by floods and landslides since rains pounded the hill state on June 15 was delayed raising fears of disease outbreak.

127 more bodies were recovered since Monday from Kedarnath area. At least 15 corpses were found floating in Ganga in different districts of Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Bijnore, taking the toll in the tragedy to 822, officials said.
     
With the bodies already beginning to putrefy, the air is laden with a foul stench giving rise to fears of an epidemic outbreak in affected areas.

(JPN/Agencies)

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