Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the chopper was to land in Wellington at 12.15 pm but air traffic control lost contact with the helicopter at 12.08 pm.

Rajnath Singh addressing the Lok Sabha on the IAF chopper crash
news Chopper crash Thursday, December 09, 2021 - 12:13

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the Lok Sabha on Thursday, December 9, to brief the Parliament on the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others. The Minister said that an inquiry has been launched into the crash and that the bodies of those killed will be brought to the national capital in the evening. Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Singh said the last rites of General Bipin Rawat will be performed with full military honours. 

Thirteen of the 14 people on board the helicopter died in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. The Defence Minister said that Group Captain Varun Singh, who is the only one who survived the crash, is on life support at a Wellington hospital.

Also read: IAF chopper crash: Black box retrieved from crash site near Coonoor

The Defence Minister said that a tri-service enquiry regarding the incident has been ordered by Indian Air Force, and the probe will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command. 

The Defence Minister told the House that the Air Force Mi17V5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11:48 am and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 pm. “Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 pm. Subsequently, few local residents spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of a military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site,” Rajnath Singh said. 

Those who were rescued from the remains of the hospital were rushed to Military Hospital in Wellington. 13 people out of the 14 onboard the helicopter succumbed to their injuries. Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in the Military Hospital at Wellington and all efforts are being made to save his life. The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat would be cremated with full military honours, the Defence Minister told the Lok Sabha.

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

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