New Delhi, December 9: In a tragic incident that took place on Wednesday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, including Brigadier LS Lidder and Lit Col Harjinder Singh, died in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district. There was 14 personnel onboard the ill-fated chopper. Thirteen were declared dead. The black box of the ill-fated chopper was recovered on Thursday morning. A 25 special team of the Air force officers led by Wing Commander R. Bhardwaj has recovered the black box. IAF MI-17V5 Helicopter Crash: IMA Cancels Commandant's Parade in Dehradun.
The bodies of General Rawat and his wife are expected to reach Delhi by today evening. Their last rites will be performed tomorrow with full military honours. The chopper took off from Sulur Airbase at around 11:45 am on Wednesday. General Rawat was heading to Wellington to address a gathering at the Defence Services Staff College. IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary also visited the crash site this morning. PM Narendra Modi Mourns CDS General Bipin Rawat’s Death, Says ‘India Will Never Forget His Exceptional Service’.
The IAF has ordered a tri-services inquiry into the incident. Earlier today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed Parliament over the incident. The Defence Minister said that the probe will be headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh. He added that the IAF inquiry team had reached Wellington on Wednesday and had already started investigations. The Lok Sabha also observed a two-minute silence on the demise of the 13 people. Final Moments of Mi-17 Chopper Carrying CDS Bipin Rawat and 13 Others Before It Crashed (Watch Video).
Lone survivor in the crash, Group Captain Varun Singh was undergoing treatment for severe burns. A six-member special medical team from Coimbatore is attending the treatment of Group Captain Singh. Other defence officials who died in the rash were - Brigadier L.S. Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja and Havaldar Satpal.
After the crash, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). During the meeting, it was decided that as a mark of respect, the government will announce national mourning on Thursday. Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and top military, security and intelligence officers attended the meeting.
(With inputs from IANS)
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 09, 2021 12:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).