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IAF helicopter crash: Parliament pays tribute to General Bipin Rawat, others; tri-service inquiry ordered

Thirteen of the 14 people including CDS General Bipin Rawat on board the helicopter died in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. 

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: December 09, 2021 12:54 IST
Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat

Highlights

  • CDS General Rawat, his wife and 11 others died in a chopper crash incident in Tamil Nadu yesterday
  • Gen Rawat had served as the Chief of the Indian Army from December 17, 2016, to December 31, 2019
  • Rajnath Singh informed that Group Captain Varun Singh, who survived the crash, is on life support

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered a tri-service inquiry into the military chopper crash incident in Tamil Nadu that claimed the lives of 13 including the CDS General Bipin Rawat. 

"The investigation will be led by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh. The inquiry team reached Wellington yesterday itself and started the investigation," the Defence Minister said while briefing the Lok Sabha about yesterday's incident.

Singh said that bodies of CDC Gen Rawat and others will be brought to the national capital in the evening. He said the last rites of Gen Rawat will be performed with full military honours.

Thirteen of the 14 people on board the helicopter died in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.  Singh informed that Group Captain Varun Singh, who survived the crash, is on life support at a Wellington hospital. 

The members of the Lok Sabha also stood in silence for a brief while as a mark of respect for the departed souls.

Paying tributes, Speaker Om Birla said that Gen Rawat had worked a lot towards bringing in reforms in the system and would be remembered for his dedication. 

Statement by Defence Minister in Parliament

With profound grief and heavy heart, I stand to convey the unfortunate news of the crash of the military helicopter in the noon of 8th December 2021, with India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat onboard.

Gen Bipin Rawat was on a scheduled visit to Defence ServicesStaff College, Wellington to interact with the student Officers. The Air Force Mi 17 V 5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11:48 AM yesterday and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 PM. Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 PM. Subsequently, few locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site.

All those recovered from the wreckage were rushed to the Military Hospital, Wellington. Latest reports have confirmed that out of the total 14 persons onboard the ill-fated helicopter, 13 have succumbed to their injuries. The dead include the spouse of the CDS, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew. Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi  Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja. Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in the Military Hospital at Wellington and all efforts are being made to save his life.

A tri Service enquiry regarding the incident has been ordered by Indian Air Force, headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.

The Chief of Defence Staff would be cremated with full military honours.

I, on behalf of the august House, pay homage to the deceased persons and express condolences to the bereaved families.

READ MORE: Last video of CDS General Bipin Rawat's chopper that crashed in TN

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