CDS Rawat, Wife,12 Others In IAF Chopper That Crashed; Survivor Details Awaited
An Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu earlier today, as confirmed by the IAF in a twitter post.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was on board, along with his wife and 12 colleagues. No official information has been released yet on the crash toll and survivors.
Four bodies have been recovered from the crash site in the Nilgiris and shifted to Military hospital in Wellington, reported government broadcaster DD News. Three injured persons were also rescued and moved to hospital, it said citing district officials.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Rawat residence just moments ago. Earlier, Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash. The minister is expected to brief parliament on Thursday, DD New reported.
An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, the IAF said.
Earlier in the day DD News shared images of the crash site.
14 people were on board the chopper, according to ANI.
The News Minute shared images of the rescue and recovery operations at the crash site.
General Bipin Rawat was appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff on Dec. 19, 2019. Prior to that he served as Chief of the Army Staff from Dec. 31, 2016. A graduate of the National Defence Academy, he began his service in the armed forces in December 1978 when he was commissioned into the Fifth Battalion of the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles of the Infantry. Over a 43 year career he has served across a large number of conflict and combat situations as well as held important instructional and administration posts.
No update has been issued yet on whether he has survived the crash, though one news channel claimed he had been found and rushed to hospital.