Tamil Nadu police on Friday, December 10 felicitated the villagers and estate workers who were the first to reach the spot when the helicopter M1-17V5 carrying Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 others crashed at Kateri near Coonoor. Tamil Nadu police DGP, C. Sylendra Babu was personally present while felicitating the locals and estate workers who had helped to recover the mortal remains and provided blankets and other clothes to carry the injured to the Wellington Army hospital.
While handing over blankets, clothes, and eatables to the local estate workers in Conoor, their DIG told media: "The local people who are workers in tea estates have done a yeoman service by rushing to the place on hearing about the accident. The service of these people have to be recorded and hence we are felicitating them."
Meanwhile, he said that the state police, under the leadership of ADSP Muthumanickam, who is heading the special team investigating the case, have recorded eyewitnesses' statements. "We have already taken the account of 25 people and will be handing over these statements to the Army special team led by Air Marshall Manavendra Singh," he told the media.
Meanwhile, the Special team constituted by the Defence Ministry to conduct an investigation of the helicopter crash at the Kattari park area near Coonoor in Nilgiris, is continuing its investigation. The team led by Air Marshall Manavendra Singh has deployed drones over the crash site to unearth the weather conditions and the reason for the crash.
With the flight data recorder already recovered, the team will be conducting a detailed technical evaluation on the same and provide a report to the defence ministry. However, sources in the Air Force told IANS that if there are any difficulties in deciphering the pen drive in the flight data recorder, the team will seek the expertise of the Russian defence team as the MI-17V5 helicopter that crashed at Coonoor was made in Russia.
The Air Force special team that is investigating the details of the crash was given a mandate for a full proof investigation and not to leave out any angle regarding the crash.