Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Nilgiris, December 8
Gen Bipin Rawat, India's first Chief of Defence Staff, his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel died on Wednesday after the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force said.
"With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," IAF tweeted.
With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
"Gp Capt Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC with injuries is currently under treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington," it added.
The copter was being flown by Wing Cdr PS Chauhan and Sqn Ldr K Singh.
Nilgiri's Collector earlier said 13 of the 14 occupants of the IAF helicopter that crashed in Tamil Nadu have been killed and there is one survivor, a male.
Gen Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier. A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional. His passing away has saddened me deeply. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/YOuQvFT7Et— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 8, 2021
Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 8, 2021
His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country.
"Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Deeply shocked at tragic demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) December 8, 2021
We worked closely together in the last few years. It is a huge loss to the nation.
I extend my condolences to the family of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 8, 2021
This is an unprecedented tragedy and our thoughts are with their family in this difficult time.
Heartfelt condolences also to all others who lost their lives.
India stands united in this grief.
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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.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
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.
The Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington.
The helicopter crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district.
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.
Ministry concerned to share information on chopper crash at appropriate time: Govt
Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday said information about the helicopter accident in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu will be shared by the ministry concerned at an appropriate time.
“The entire information about the accident that has taken place will be shared by the concerned ministry at an appropriate time,” Thakur told reporters when asked about the helicopter crash involving Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat.
TV visuals showed the chopper in flames, apparently under the impact of the crash. With PTI and IANS
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