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Loud boom, burning bodies stun locals of Nilgiris village

A kind of a thud and ‘something’ whirring from nowhere was the first sign that something had gone seriously amiss. Humble tea estate workers, in their serene Western Ghats village in Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu were quickly overwhelmed with a sense of foreboding

Loud boom, burning bodies stun locals of Nilgiris village
Locals try to douse the fire


Soon, it was sheer disbelief that gripped them in their modest hillside colony when they saw a frightening bright blaze emerging from the misty woods amid clanking of metal objects. Though it was a little past noon, fog still shrouded the hills on Wednesday.

Although neither workers nor their family members could comprehend what was unfolding, they and some local people were the first to reach the location, where the Air Force helicopter crashed. However, they could not get very close as the fire raged destroying all that it could in the wooded vicinity.

Eyewitness accounts said hearing ‘something like a boom’ and then ‘clanking of objects,’ while the fire raged for well over half an hour.

Eventually, when some people managed to reach close by, they could just not believe what they saw. When they spotted a ‘burning thing’ they initially thought that it could be the branch of a tree, and on inching closer, the stench of the flesh that was still ablaze made them realise what it was; a ‘burning and burnt’ body of a man crushed under the heavy branch of a huge tree that fell down in the impact of the crash.

When they saw another partially burnt body near bushes, apparently of a young soldier, they got an indication of the gravity of the situation. With only some shreds of his olive green uniform over a part of his upper torso, he was just lying flat on the ground, lifeless.

“I heard a loud explosion and rushed to find a helicopter engulfed in fire. I was shocked to find two people caught in flames jumping out of the chopper. I immediately informed the neighbours and we alerted the police, before rushing to the spot to carry out rescue operations,” said Krishnasamy, a local villager.

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