- IAF's Mi-17V5 was carrying Gen. Rawat, wife, 12 others when it crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
- Chopper crashed in forest area, reducing trees to pieces of logs and ashes due to resultant fire
- The mortal remains of the victims will be taken to New Delhi from Coimbatore on Thursday by air
General Bipin Rawat, India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) appointed on December 31, 2019, and who had a vast experience across a wide spectrum of conflict and terrain profiles, was among the 13 people who were killed on Wednesday when IAF's military helicopter Mi-17V5 they were travelling in crashed in a hilly area in apparently foggy conditions near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and state officials said. The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Kovind, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, opposition and world leaders expressed their grief over the incident. There were a total of 14 people on board the IAF chopper out of whom 13 of them have died. IAF Group Captain Varun Singh is the lone survivor. PM Modi later in the day chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to take stock of the situation.
- The Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying Gen. Rawat, the 63-year-old tri-services chief who would have completed two years at the end of this month in the new post after serving as the Army chief, crashed killing 13 of the 14 people on board including his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel, the officials said.
- The lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, Directing Staff at DSSC, is currently under treatment at a military hospital in nearby Wellington, the IAF said. | READ MORE
- Gen.Rawat, an outspoken General with his remarks sometimes kicking up a controversy, was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course.
- Mi1-7V5 is an advanced military transport chopper that has been with the IAF since 2012. Manufactured by Russian Helicopters' subsidiary Kazan, it has an onboard weather radar and is equipped with the latest generation of night vision devices | Timeline of what happened moments before crash
- The other victims, all from the armed forces, were identified as Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander PS Chauhan, Squadron Leader K Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek, Lance Naik B S Teja, Havaldar Satpal, JWO Das and JWO Pradeep, according to official sources.
- The accident site presented a gory picture as rescue personnel were seen picking up charred, severed limbs strewn around. The mangled and burnt remains of the ill-fated IAF copter at the accident site in Nilgiris bore a grim testimony to the tragedy that shocked the nation. The site remained out of bounds for civilians.
- The mortal remains of the victims will be taken to New Delhi from Coimbatore on Thursday by air, after a wreath-laying ceremony scheduled tomorrow morning at Wellington, police and Defence sources said.
- According to accounts of official sources and a local eyewitnesses in Coonoor, the helicopter was flying at a low altitude in the foggy conditions when it crashed into a valley near Coonoor, before falling through trees.
- Fire engulfed the helicopter by the time it crashed on the ground. The helicopter crashed in the Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area in the hilly Nilgiris district. Although the chopper brushed a house during its fall, there was no human casualty or injury since the residents were not at home. The building, however, suffered damage. Two persons, who were ablaze, fell down from the helicopter, Perumal, an eyewitness said.
- The copter crashed in the forest area, reducing trees to pieces of logs and ashes due to resultant fire, even as the local people turned first responders to try and save the injured. However, they could not help the victims due to the raging flames and informed authorities.
(With inputs from PTI)