The flight data recorder or black box can offer crucial data that can identify reasons for the chopper crash that happened on Wednesday near Coonoor in the Nilgiris, killing 13 of the 14 people on board.

An IAF officer carrying a cloth package containing the black box
news Chopper crash Thursday, December 09, 2021 - 11:55

The flight data recorder of the Indian Air Force Mi17V5 helicopter that crashed near Coonoor in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, December 8 killing Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other armed services personnel has been recovered. Informally known as the black box, it was recovered on Thursday morning, after the arrival of Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari at the Sulur Air Force base. Visuals of an officer carrying the black box back to the Sulur camp have been doing the rounds on social media.

An IAF team under Air Marshal Manendra Singh has begun an investigation into the crash. A 25-member special team of IAF officers led by Wing Commander R Bhardwaj recovered the black box. The device will be handed over to the Accident Investigation Board at the Sulur base. The team has been conducting search operations since Thursday morning as the priority on Wednesday was to recover the bodies safely and shift them to the Military Hospital, Wellington.

The black box collects data from the flight and helps in investigation of aviation accidents and other incidents. Although known as the black box, the flight data recorder is painted bright orange for easy identification in the event of an accident. The data collected by the black box can help ascertain the reasons for the accident, such as unfavourable weather conditions, technical glitches or human error.

The black box can also reveal data about the helicopter’s final flight situation. It also has a voice recording device that records cockpit conversations.

Meanwhile, a six-member special medical team from Coimbatore is attending to the treatment of the lone survivor in the helicopter crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, who is struggling for his life at the Military Hospital, Wellington.

Read: CDS chopper crash: Mi17V5 is advanced transport helicopter with IAF since 2012

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, who is in the Nilgiris, has already communicated to the Army team that the state government would support the medical treatment of Group Captain Varun Singh. Sources at Wellington said that Varun Singh, who is a Shaurya Chakra awardee, suffered 60% burns in the crash.

Further, forensic examination of the remains of the chopper can also reveal if there were external causes for the accident. In addition, Group Captain Varun Singh, the Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, can also provide first-hand information about the flight.

On Wednesday, the IAF helicopter with 14 persons on board, including General Rawat and his wife, took off from Sulur air base and crashed minutes before it was supposed to land at Coonoor.

Read: GMC Balayogi to YSR Reddy: Helicopter crashes have killed many VIPs in India

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