India’s Chief of Defence staff General Bipin Rawat dies in chopper crash in Tamil Nadu

India’s Chief of Defence staff General Bipin Rawat dies in chopper crash in Tamil Nadu

In what can be termed as a monumental loss to the nation, the Indian Air Force has confirmed that Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has died in a chopper crash in Tamil Nadu.

“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,” an official communique from IAF read.

General Rawat was on his way from the Sulur IAF Station to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington in Coonoor when the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter in which he was travelling crashed in a forested area in the Niligris district around 12:20 pm.

The crash occurred in the Nilgiris district, at a hilly area between Coimbatore and Sulur. The name of the accident site was given as Katteri-Nanchappanchathram.

The ill-fated helicopter was carrying 14 people in total — 9 passengers and 5 crew members.

The passengers were CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kr, L/Naik Vivek Kumar, L/Naik B Sai Teja & Hav Satpal, ANI tweeted.

It was an Mi-17V5 helicopter, IAF said, adding that an inquiry has been ordered.

The accident spot was said to be covered in thick mist. The mishap reportedly happened due to low visibility caused by foggy conditions. Some visuals show the chopper in flames.

Rawat, 63, is India’s first chief of defence staff, an office set up in 2019 to improve coordination between the army, navy and air force. (Courtesy Economic Times)

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