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HomeNewsGovernanceIndian Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat dies in IAF helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu

Indian Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat dies in IAF helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu

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According to the preliminary IAF reports, about 13 out of total 14 people onboard including Gen Rawat, his wife and his team members are reported to have died in the crash

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In one of the most tragic army fatalities in many decades, Indian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is reported to be killed in a near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.  According to the preliminary IAF reports, about 13 out of a total of 14 people onboard including Gen Rawat, his wife and his team members are reported to have died in the crash.

Earlier, the Tamil Nadu government confirmed that 13 were killed in the crash while there was one survivor, a male. The has confirmed that the sole survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is being treated for 90% burn injuries.

According to the Indian Air Force, a Mi-17VH helicopter carrying the CDS along with his wife and 12 other army officials entourage crashed in Nilgiri hills under foggy conditions. While confirming the demise of CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, Defence minister Rajnath Singh in a tweet said “Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country.”

https://twitter.com/rajnathsingh/status/1468560192497328129

Meanwhile, the IAF has also ordered a Court of Inquiry into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH helicopter that took off from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.

“I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Prime Minister tweeted.

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1468565784859328520

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) later discuss the situation and the future course of action in an emergency meeting called following the tragic incident. Reports are also a buzz that the government at the top level is likely to announce the name of the new Chief of Defence Staff later this week.

While condoling the demise of CDS Gen Rawat, PM Modi in a tweet said he was an outstanding soldier. “Gen Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier. A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional. His passing away has saddened me deeply. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1468565784859328520

PM Modi further said that “As India's first CDS, Gen Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defence reforms. He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.”

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1468566133896740869

Initial IAF investigations revealed that the helicopter carrying Rawat and others had left Sulur IAF station in Coimbatore around 10.30 am on Wednesday and was supposed to land at Defence Staff College in Wellington at Udhagamandalam about an hour later.

The crash happened at a distance of about 10 kilometres from the helipad where it was supposed to land. Earlier today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident. Singh is likely to make a statement on the incident in Parliament on Thursday.

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