IAF helicopter with Gen Bipin Rawat on board crashes in Tamil Nadu; 4 killed
An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board met with an accident on Wednesday near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the IAF said, as four people were killed in the mishap that took place reportedly due to low visibility owing to foggy conditions.
However, there was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat, even as the IAF said a Court of Inquiry had been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH choppper that took from the Sulur IAF station in nearby Coimbatore.
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.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
There were 14 people, including the pilots, on board.
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 travelling in the chopper.
Official sources in Delhi said all the injured people on board had been evacuated.
The Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington.
Hoping for the safety of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and others onboard the chopper.
Prayers for speedy recovery.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 8, 2021
Meanwhile, official sources in Coimbatore said four bodies had been retrieved and three people rescued from under the debris of the helicopter which crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district.
Extremely sad to see the images of the chopper crash with CDS Bipin Rawat and his wife on board. Praying for the safety of all.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) December 8, 2021
The helicopter was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to Defence Staff College in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event later.
The chopper crashed in a forest area, reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog, official sources said.
Extremely tragic news coming in from Coonoor.
Today, the entire nation prays for the safety of those who were onboard including CDS Bipin Rawat and his family members. Also praying for the speedy recovery of everyone who was injured.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 8, 2021
TV visuals 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. With PTI and IANS