CDS General Bipin Rawat's condition unknown as IAF chopper crash in Tamil Nadu kills 13
An Army helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and 13 others onboard, confirmed Indian Air Force statement.
An Indian Air Force helicopter carrying Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his staff, and other defence officials crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonor on Wednesday. As per the sources, thirteen people have been confirmed dead and the identities of the bodies is to be confirmed through DNA testing. However, there has been no word on the condition of General Bipin Rawat. The Mi-series helicopter crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu. On board the chopper were 14 individuals, including Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, Defence Assistant, security commandos, and IAF pilots. Additionallly, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would brief the Parliament about the crash on Thursday.
Meanwhile, an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident and so far four bodies have been recovered. 14 army personnel were on board. They included CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kr, L/Naik Vivek Kumar, L/Naik B Sai Teja and Hav Satpal.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin will leave for Coimbatore on Wednesday evening to take stock of the situation. He has also ordered local administration to provide all the help requuired.
Bodies recovered from the site of the crash (between Coimbatore and Sulur where a military chopper crashed) have been taken to Military Hospital, Wellington in Tamil Nadu. The helicopter was on its way to the Defence Staff Services College in Wellington, Nilgiris.
The Indian Air Force released a statement in regards with the crash. The statement read: "An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident."
However, the Indian Army is yet to make a statement. In January 2019, General Rawat, 63, was appointed as India's first Chief of Defence Staff. The job was created with the goal of merging the three services (Army, Navy, and Air Force). He was then named head of the newly formed Department of Military Affairs.
Rajnath Singh, who excused himself from a cabinet meeting when news of the tragedy broke, and Army Chief General MM Naravane have both visited Gen Rawat's residence.