6 more officers' bodies identified in IAF chopper tragedy
The mortal remains of six more defence officials killed in the Tamil Nadu chopper crash have been identified. The bodies will be transported to their respective hometowns on Saturday, officials said. The bodies of three people had been identified earlier - Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder. The helicopter crash occurred on Wednesday.
The personnel whose bodies have been identified are Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Arakkal Pradeep, JWO Rana Pratap Das, Wing Commander PS Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Lance Naik B Sai Teja, and Lance Naik Vivek Kumar. The bodies of all the 13 victims were flown in to the Palam air base on Thursday. Family members helped with the identification at Delhi's Army Base Hospital.
The bodies will be sent to airports nearest to the officers' homes. JWO Pradeep's coffin was dispatched for his hometown Thrissur, Tamil Nadu and JWO Das's coffin for Odisha's Angul. Wing Commander Chauhan's coffin reached his hometown Agra earlier in the day. The body of Lance Naik Teja will be sent to Chittoor and Lance Naik Kumar's coffin will reach Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh.
Around Wednesday noon, an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crashed in Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu. General Rawat and other officials were headed to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, to address the faculty and students there when the incident took place. On Friday, the funerals for the CDS, his wife, and Brigadier Lidder were held at Brar Square Crematorium in Delhi Cantonment.
The lone survivor of the crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, is undergoing treatment at the Command Hospital in Bengaluru, Karnataka. His condition remains critical but stable, officials said, according to PTI. Meanwhile, the Air Force assured the inquiry into the crash will be "completed expeditiously." Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, the IAF's senior-most chopper pilot, is leading the investigation.