CDS Gen Rawat's helicopter crash: Inquiry finds no sabotage, blames unexpected change in weather
The inquiry team analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.
The tri-services court of inquiry into the Mi-17 V5 accident, which claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 13 others on board on December 8, 2021, has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident.
According to preliminary findings, the accident was a result of entry into clouds due to an unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in controlled flight into terrain. The inquiry team analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.
Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations that are being reviewed.
Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command, led an inquiry team that examined the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder as well as interviewed all relevant witnesses to find the most likely cause of the disaster. Air Marshal Singh is a helicopter pilot himself.
General Rawat and 13 people were killed on their way to Wellington from Sulur airport when their helicopter Mi-17V5 crashed minutes before landing.
General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh, and nine other Armed Forces personnel, including the Air Force chopper crew, were all killed. Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, and Lance Naik B Sai Teja are the identities of the crew members.
Group Captain Varun Singh was the only survivor of the collision, although he died from his injuries less than a week later.