Eleven people are feared dead after the Indian Air Force helicopter in which Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was travelling crashed on Wednesday, December 8. The identities of the deceased have not been revealed. The Mi-17V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force crashed at 12.20 pm in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor. The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident.
The Mi-17V5 chopper took off from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore and the Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. General Bipin Rawat was travelling in the helicopter along with his wife, Madhulika, and twelve others, including five crew members, when the helicopter crashed onto a steep slope in Katteri Park in Nanjappanchathiram area.
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." Those injured were rushed to Wellington Military Hospital around 6 to 7 kilometres away from the accident spot. Some others suffered serious injuries and have been taken to Wellington cantonment.
Along with General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B Sai Teja, Havaldar Satpal and pilots were those on board the chopper.
Visuals from the spot of the crash 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. Chief Minister MK Stalin is set to visit the spot of the accident.
The cause of the crash is not known yet. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the crash and is expected to make a statement in the Parliament.