At least 13 persons died when an Indian Air Force chopper crashed in the southern region in the state of Tamil Nadu. Bipin Rawat, India’s military chief of defense staff, is also one of them, according to the country’s Air Force. Gen. Rawat, who was in charge of a number of searches, along with conducting operations in Indian-administered Kashmir, was asked to lead the combined forces.
The general was India’s top military officer, serving as the country’s chief of defense staff (CDS). The Indian government created the office in 2019 and he was the first to occupy it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw Rawat as a close friend. His ancestors have worked in the Indian military for many centuries. In Indian-administered Kashmir and along the Line of Actual Control with China, he served as a commander.
On Wednesday morning, a Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying the Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 others crashed in the hills near Coonoor city.
Only one individual survived and is receiving medical attention for his wounds at a local hospital right now. In January 2019, Gen. Rawat, 63, became India’s first-ever Chief of Defense Staff.
The Indian Air Force said it has requested an inquiry into the crash, which occurred in hazy circumstances. A cabinet safety committee is convening an emergency meeting, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“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,” the Indian Air Force tweeted.
What More Do We Know About the Crash?
The chopper caught fire as locals attempted to put out the flames on television.
He was aboard a Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopter that “met with an accident today in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force stated,” according to the Indian Air Force.
An investigation has been requested to determine the cause of the crash. A senior army official reported that Rawat and his wife, as well as several other officers, were on board the chopper as it flew to the army’s defense services academy.
Sulur’s army post was just a few kilometers away from Wellington town, where Gen. Rawat was scheduled to attend the Defense Services Staff College.
A college captain is the only survivor of the plane crash. As a result of India’s aging air force aircraft, which includes the Russian-made Mi-17V5 military helicopter, a significant number of crashes have occurred previously as well.
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Helicopters are “safe and proven,” according to former army chief J J Singh, who himself had flown on one in risky conditions. Crash in Arunachal Pradesh, north-eastern India, claimed the lives of seven military soldiers last year. The chopper was doing a training mission.
In the northeastern state of Uttarakhand, one of the helicopters had collapsed soon after take-off a year earlier during one military training. There were no fatalities at that time.