Gen Bipin Rawat crash: Sole survivor, Captain Varun Singh, awarded Shaurya Chakra on 2021 Independence Day
Captain Varun Singh of the Indian Air Force hails from a military family, was awarded Shaurya Chakra on 2021 Independence Day. He is the lone survivor of the devastating military helicopter crash.
Captain Varun Singh of the Indian Air Force was the lone survivor of the military helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 others. On Independence Day this year, he was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for rescuing his LCA Tejas fighter aircraft during an airborne incident in 2021. He was flying a system check sortie in the LCA away from the parent base on October 12, 2020, following extensive rectification of the Flight Control System and pressurisation system. His plane had gone out of control, and he had a remarkable escape at the moment. He is now assigned to the Staff College in Wellington as an Instructor.
According to his citation, the cockpit pressurisation failed at a high altitude throughout the flight. He accurately diagnosed the problem and began descending to a lower altitude in preparation for landing. The Flight Control System failed as the aircraft was descending, resulting in total loss of control. This was a catastrophic failure that had never happened before. Despite being under great physical and emotional stress in a life-threatening scenario, he kept his cool and restored control of the aircraft, demonstrating remarkable flying competence.
He hails from a military family that includes members of all three services. While Group Captain Varun Singh is a member of the Indian Air Force, his father, Colonel (ret.) KP Singh, was a member of the Army Air Defence unit (AAD). Lieutenant Commander Tanuj Singh, his brother, is an officer in the Indian Navy.
CDS Rawat and his wife Madhulika were among 14 people onboard an Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 chopper that crashed near Coonoor while en way to Wellington in Tamil Nadu. Rawat was India's first Chief of Defence Staff, commanding all three services - the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Indian Navy. The others who passed away due to severe burns were Brigadier LS Lidder, Lt Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, L/NK Vivek Kumar, L/NK B Sai Teja, and Hav Satpal.