13 dead after IAF chopper carrying CDS Bipin Rawat crashes
An Indian Air Force chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, ANI reported. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat, his wife, several security commandos, and IAF officials were aboard the Mi-17V5 helicopter. Thirteen people have died and a male survivor is undergoing treatment. The identities of the deceased will reportedly be confirmed through DNA testing. Here are more details on this.
What do we know so far?
The crash took place in Nilgiris district, shortly after the chopper flew out of the Army base in Sulur. It was reportedly headed toward the Wellington defence establishment. Reports said 14 defence officials were aboard the chopper. Several people were critically injured and rushed to nearby hospitals. Visuals from the scene showed the chopper in flames and locals helping rescue operations.
Here are visuals from the spot
#WATCH | Latest visuals from the spot (between Coimbatore and Sulur) where a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu. CDS Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper. pic.twitter.com/6oxG7xD8iW— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2021
Air Force orders inquiry
The Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed the incident in a post on Twitter. The force said an inquiry has been ordered to "ascertain the cause of the accident."
General Rawat, India's first CDS
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been briefed about the developments. Singh is expected to speak on the crash in the Parliament. A meeting of Defence Ministry officials was also held. General Rawat, 63, was appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019. He also serves as the head of the Department of Military Affairs.
Others who were on board
There is no information General Rawat's his condition yet. Others who were on board were Rawat's wife Madhulika, Brig. LS Lidder, Lt. Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra, L/Naik Vivek Kumar, L/Naik B Sai Teja, and Hav Satpal, according to ANI. Separately, the Tamil Nadu government has rushed senior officials to the site to aid rescue operations.