A Malayali priest who had set out with relief goods for landslide-hit Joshimath died after his car fell into a gorge near the subsidence-hit Himalayan town.
Fr Melvin Abraham Pallithazhathu, 37, a native of Chakkittapara in Kerala's Kozhikode district, was serving in Uttarakhand.
According to reports, his vehicle skidded off the snow-clad road and despite locals' efforts to keep it on track, fell into a 500ft gorge. The body was retrieved late on Thursday night.
Fr Melvin, a priest with the Diocese of Bijnor, had driven alone to Joshimath from Kotdwar which is situated nearly 300km away.
The priest had recorded himself when he set out, detailing his mission there. "I'm going to Joshimath. I'm taking ration for 20-25 families affected by a landslide there," Fr Melvin said in the recording.
"A priest there told me they have very little food, so I'm driving alone, it's about 300-320 km. I'm enjoying the ride. The weather is good, there is no fog," these were some of the last words Fr Melvin had recorded en route to Joshimath which is situated at around 6,000 feet.