Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and 13 others were killed in a helicopter accident in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on December 8.

General Bipin Rawat
news Chopper Crash Wednesday, December 08, 2021 - 19:50

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat died on Wednesday, December 8 in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor. Thirteen others, including Rawat’s wife Madhulika, also died in the accident.

This was not the first time that General Bipin Rawat was involved in an air mishap. More than six years ago, the late Chief of Defence Staff survived a chopper crash with minor injuries in Nagaland on February 3, 2015. At the time, he held the rank of Lieutenant General and headed the army’s Dimapur-based HQs 3 Corps.

The helicopter, which had climbed around 20 meters, crashed within seconds of taking off from Dimapur. Along with Rawat, two pilots and another colonel also survived the crash that happened due to suspected engine failure, according to reports. However, Rawat did not survive the deadly accident which took place at around 12.20 pm on December 8.

Read: ‘I saw people burning and falling': Resident who saw CDS Bipin Rawat chopper crash

Rawat, 63, a four-star general in the Indian Army, was appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in 2019. He had previously served as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

The fatal crash was termed “extremely unfortunate” by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.   

“Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country,” Rajnath Singh tweeted Wednesday evening.  

The MI series helicopter was carrying 14 people.The others onboard included personal security officers and two other staff of the CDS. Thirteen people were killed in the crash, while GP Captain Varun Singh is receiving treatment.

"Gp Capt Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC with injuries is currently under treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington," the Indian Air Force said in a tweet.

CDS Bipin Rawat had been scheduled to speak at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington Cantonment at 2.45 pm on Wednesday. According to officials, the chopper had been en route from the Sulur IAF base to DSSC when it crashed. The mishap happened near Kattery Park, about 10 km from the helipad in the Nanjappanchathiram area. The site of the accident was on a Ghat road between Mettupalayam and Coonoor.

Also read: ‘Outstanding soldier, true patriot’: Condolences pour in for CDS General Bipin Rawat

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