Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was travelling in the helicopter but his health condition is not immediately known.

Spot where Mi-17V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force, with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board, crashed
news Accident Wednesday, December 08, 2021 - 15:23

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin will be visiting Coonoor where a Mi-17V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force, with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board, crashed on Wednesday, December 8. Five people are confirmed to have died and two others were severely injured in the crash, though the identities of those who have died have not been revealed. While reports say the casualties have risen to 11, an official confirmation is awaited.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was travelling in the helicopter along with his wife and twelve others, including five crew members. However, his condition is not immediately known. The CDS was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to give a lecture scheduled at about 3 pm. 

The Indian Air Force tweeted, "An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident." The crash took place on the ghat road from Mettupalayam to Coonoor, reports say. Those injured have been taken to Coonoor Army Hospital around 6 to 7 kilometres away from the accident spot. 

Also read: CDS Bipin Rawat en route to give lecture when his chopper crashed in Nilgiris

According to initial reports, four bodies have been retrieved and three persons rescued from under the debris of the helicopter which crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district. There were 14 people on board — 9 passengers and 5 crew members. The chopper was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to DSC in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event later.

The chopper crashed in a forest area, reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog, official sources said. TV visuals showed the chopper in flames, apparently under the impact of the crash. Rescue personnel, along with Army personnel, were seen involved in clearing the area. Those injured have been taken to Coonoor Army Hospital. The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.