IAF Helicopter Crash: An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter carrying top defence personnel, including Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other personnel were killed in the crash, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a statement.
- According to reports, there were 14 people on board in the ill-fated chopper. "With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," the IAF said in a statement.
- CDS Rawat was been admitted to the hospital in a critical condition.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the accident. Rajnath Singh is also likely to make a statement in Parliament tomorrow.
- According to reports, CDS Rawat was headed to Defence Services Staff College located in Wellington in Udhagamandalam (Ooty). The helicopter carrying him took off from Army base in Sulur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
- "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," the Indian Air Force said in a statement.
- The helicopter crashed in thickly forested hilly terrains of the Nilgiri Hills. Television images showed that charred remains of the helicopter were scattered over a large area on the hill.
- Multiple agencies were involved in carrying out relief and rescue operations. However, difficult terrains made it tough for rescuers to carry out their work smoothly.
- CDS General Rawat, 63, took charge as India's first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019.